0618 GMT September 26, 2022
Ahead of the Monday meeting of the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), bids to sour the atmosphere against Iran appear to have been increased.
Following the release of the new report by IAEA’s Director General Rafael Grossi, which features a repetition of certain baseless claims against Iran’s peaceful nuclear program, on Saturday, the E3 group of France, Britain and Germany, in a joint statement, blamed Tehran for the failure of the talks on the revival of a 2015 nuclear deal to bear fruit.
The joint statement said, “Iran has chosen not to seize this critical diplomatic opportunity (the European Union’s proposed final draft of a potential nuclear agreement). Instead, Iran continues to escalate its nuclear program way beyond any plausible civilian justification.”
Turning to the IAEA’s anti-Iran resolution adopted in June based on the claim that Tehran “has refrained from providing plausible answers” to the agency’s questions about some of its “undeclared” nuclear sites, the statement added, “Three months later, Iran has taken no steps at all as confirmed by the IAEA director general’s latest report.”
It said, “It is up to Iran to provide technically credible answers to the IAEA’s questions on the whereabouts of all nuclear material on its territory.”
The three European states have also announced that they will consult, alongside international partners, on how best to address Iran’s lack of cooperation with the IAEA regarding its NPT safeguards agreement.
The claim by the E3 blaming Iran for “failing to use” the available diplomatic opportunity comes as, based on the previous agreements in the nuclear talks, Tehran has submitted its response to the EU’s proposed draft, which was described by the bloc’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell as being “constructive”.
The three European states’ criticism about Iran’s increased nuclear activities primarily concerns their own performance under the nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), as Tehran’s reprisal nuclear measures were in reaction to Europe’s failure to fulfill its JCPOA commitments in the aftermath of the U.S. 2018 withdrawal from the pact. In addition, Iran’s reduction of its JCPOA commitments has not occurred furtively, as has been confirmed in Grossi’s report.
The noncooperation claim in the E3 statement seems to be hinting at the so-called possible military dimensions (PMD) case pertaining to the IAEA’s “detection of nuclear particles in some of Iran’s undeclared sites”, which is an old case dating back to two decades ago. The case, which had been closed in 2015 based on a statement by the IAEA’s Board of Governors, has been tabled once again concurrent with the increased likelihood of the achievement of an agreement to revive the JCPOA as part of a collective cooperation among Grossi, the United States and Israel.
Over the past few days, the tone of the U.S. and European officials seems to have been distancing from a constructive literature, taking a U-turn toward sounding more like threats. The E3 statement has given rise to the speculation that perhaps they seek to adopt another anti-Iran resolution. Moving in this direction does not promise a happy fate for the nuclear negotiations as was the case with the IAEA’s June resolution that was met with Iran’s decisive reaction and its removal of the agency surveillance cameras operating at its sites beyond the framework of the safeguards agreements.