In a rare statement, the United Arab Emirates has voiced "profound concern" regarding Iran's nuclear program and called on Tehran to cooperate fully with United Nations inspectors.
Hamad Alkaabi, the UAE's permanent representative to the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), stressed that Iran's uranium enrichment activities lacked "realistic peaceful uses."
The UAE's expression of concern regarding Iran's nuclear activities is particularly significant given its recent efforts to improve relations with Tehran, including the exchange of ambassadors and an official invitation for the UAE's head of state to visit Iran.
Addressing a non-proliferation meeting in Vienna, Alkaabi emphasized the importance of Iran addressing the concerns raised by the IAEA. He urged Iran to take concrete steps to "build confidence in the peaceful intent" of its nuclear activities. The call comes against the backdrop of Iran's enrichment and stockpiling of uranium, as well as its installation of new centrifuges, following the US withdrawal from the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
Alkaabi pointed out that Iran's uranium enrichment to levels as high as 60 percent, well above the 3.67 percent cap stipulated by the JCPOA, is a cause for alarm and highlighted that such activities were not consistent with the agreement, thus raising serious concerns for the UAE, which is just a matter of miles away from Iran.
Adding to the apprehensions, Norway has also drawn attention to what it terms "noticeably heightened Iranian nuclear expertise." Western diplomats have cautioned that these advancements could have enduring consequences, potentially being irreversible even in the event of a restored agreement.