U.S. and European allies to push for IAEA resolution calling on Iran to cooperate
The U.S. and its E3 allies — France, Germany and the U.K. — are expected to push for a resolution at the International Atomic Energy Agency board meeting next week that calls on Iran to fully cooperate with UN inspectors regarding suspicions of undeclared nuclear activity, E3 diplomats say.
Why it matters: It's been two years since a resolution about Iran’s lack of cooperation has been passed by the IAEA board. The Biden administration has until now refrained from taking such a step in order to avoid sabotaging the Vienna nuclear talks.
- But the weekslong stalemate in the talks and two recent alarming IAEA reports about Iran appear to have led to the decision to push for the resolution.
Driving the news: One report by UN inspectors circulated among IAEA board members on Monday stated that Iran managed to produce 43 kilograms (95 pounds) of 60% enriched uranium. If Iran enriches this amount to the level of 90%, it will have almost enough material for one nuclear bomb.
- The other report said Iran hasn’t given serious answers to UN inspectors' questions about the origin of uranium particles found in three suspicious undeclared sites in Iran.
Behind the scenes: The IAEA board meeting was one of the main issues discussed during talks between U.S. and Israeli officials at the White House yesterday, two sources briefed on the discussions said.
- The Israeli officials stressed they want the Biden administration to push for a stronger censure resolution against Iran at the IAEA board meeting next week, the sources added.
- But the U.S. stressed it thinks a stronger censure resolution could totally shut the door on getting a nuclear deal — something the Biden administration doesn’t want, the sources said.
In the days leading up to the talks at the White House, the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office started a public diplomacy campaign focused on the claim that Iran deceived the IAEA.
- It started with a story in the Wall Street Journal that was based on documents the Israeli Mossad stole from Iran’s nuclear archives and showed how the Iranians misled UN inspectors 17 years ago.
- Several days later, the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office published the original documents in Persian alongside translations in English.
- Prime Minister Naftali Bennett shared on social media a short video in which he showed the documents and said it was proof that Iran was lying to the IAEA.
What they're saying: The White House and the Israeli Prime Minister's Office said in a joint statement about the talks that the U.S. and Israeli delegations committed to coordinate on efforts to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon and toward deterring Iran’s aggressive regional activities.
- "They also discussed economic and diplomatic steps to achieve these goals and reviewed ongoing cooperation between the U.S. and Israeli militaries," the statement said.
State Department spokesperson Ned Price said yesterday the U.S. will work closely with its allies and partners and the IAEA board “to ensure that the board takes appropriate action in response” to the new IAEA reports.
Iran Foreign Ministry spokesperson Saeed Khatibzadeh said in a statement that Iran will respond firmly and proportionately to any nonconstructive move at the IAEA board meeting.
- "Those who view the IAEA board and the director general's reports as tools of political games against Iran will be responsible for the consequences," he said.
Editor's note: This story has been updated with the joint statement by the White House and Israeli Prime Minister's Office.