Sources say Iran will speed up installation of advanced uranium enrichment machines after a resolution at a UN nuclear watchdog meeting criticizing Iran.
The semi-official ISNA news website on Thursday quoted an informed source that in reaction to the resolution, Tehran would speed up production and installation of IR-6, IR-4 and IR-2 centrifuge machines. On Wednesday, Iran had also announced it was disconnecting two monitoring devices installed by the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), anticipating the passage of the resolution.
ISNA also reported that Tehran has informed the IAEA about its decisions.
However, the United States, its European allies, Israel and other countries expressed satisfaction at the overwhelming passage of the resolution on Wednesday.
“We, the Governments of France, Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States, welcome the IAEA Board of Governors’ adoption of a resolution responding to Iran’s insufficient cooperation with the IAEA…” a joint statement said after the vote.
Russia and China, the Islamic Republic’s allies, were isolated in the June 8 meeting of the IAEA Board of Governors.
Of 35 members states on the board, 30 voted in favor of the resolution sponsored by the ‘E3’ (France, Germany, the United Kingdom) and the United States. India, Libya and Pakistan abstained, while Russia and China voted against.
US represetative at IAEA Laura Holgrave at the board meeting, with Iranian delegation seen in the backround. June 6, 2022
“The overwhelming majority vote at the IAEA Board of Governors today sends an unambiguous message to Iran that it must meet its safeguards obligations and provide technically credible clarifications on outstanding safeguards issues,” the joint statement added.
Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman reacted swiftly by condemning the resolution.
Israeli officials, who had campaigned to highlight Tehran’s lack of cooperation with the IAEA, expressed their satisfaction with the outcome. “In addition to condemnation, the international community must take concrete steps,” defense minister Benny Gantz tweeted, adding that every monitoring device “that is turned off should be met with diplomatic and economic sanctions.”
The resolution called on Iran to engage with the IAEA without delay and expressed “profound concern” at Iran’s failure to satisfy the agency over traces of uranium found at three undeclared sites and highlighted last week in a report from IAEA director-general Rafael Mariano Grossi.
The resolution comes with year-long talks paused since March between Iran and six world powers aimed at reviving the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action), and with continuing preparations in Israel for an attack on Iran’s nuclear sites.
Earlier in the day before the vote, Iran reacted by announcing that it would turn off two monitoring devices installed by the IAEA at its nuclear installations, a decision that the US condemned.
Saudi Arabia’s foreign ministry welcomed the resolution, urging the Islamic Republic to cooperate with the UN nuclear watchdog without any delay. Like Israelis, the Saudis have reason to be concerned with Iran’s nuclear program and supported former US president Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPOA.
Riyadh has been concerned with President Joe Biden’s policy of trying to restore the agreement, which would result in sanctions relief for Tehran, its staunch opponent in the region.
The US, however, did not try to show a victory lap. Officials emphasized that they do not want to escalate the situation with Iran and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan emphasized that the talks aimed at reviving the JCPOA should remain separate from the safeguards and IAEA monitoring issue that brought about the resolution.
However, few believe that the two issues can remain separate and the stalled nuclear talks not to be affected by the turn of events at the IAEA board. Every Iranian retaliation, such as turning off IAEA monitoring equipment, could become an additional complicating factor in the Vienna talks to revive the 2015 nuclear deal.