Sources close to the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog say the United States and its allies will not propose a resolution against Iran at the upcoming IAEA Board of Governors meeting.
Vienna-based journalist Stephanie Liechtenstein cited diplomatic sources as saying that no resolution censuring Tehran’s nuclear program is planned for the meeting, slated to start on September 11.
The International Atomic Energy Agency did not adopt any resolution against Iran also in its previous meetings in March and June. IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi visited Iran in early March and announced new arrangements with Tehran to restore the monitoring of nuclear enrichment activities.
However, despite Grossi's claims of a deal to return to a closer monitoring process and resolve the issue of three sites found to have been contaminated by traces of uranium, no progress has been made since March. The only result of his trip was that the West refrained from censuring Iran at the following IAEA board meetings.
Liechtenstein noted that “Instead, E3 (France, Germany, and the UK) and US are drafting a joint statement that they will open up for co-signature from other countries.”
The joint statement is seen as a symbolic move against the backdrop of a reported secret deal between Tehran and Washington, announced as a prisoner swap agreement. Iran will release five Americans in exchange for its funds released from banks in South Korea and Iraq, blocked after the US withdrew from the 2015 JCPOA nuclear deal.
In reports to diplomats of countries forming the board of directors of the IAEA, the watchdog’s experts say that Iran's stock of uranium enriched to 60 percent purity, close to weapons grade, continues to grow but it grew just seven percent in the last three months compared with a 30-percent increase in the previous quarter.
The report was not officially released by the IAEA and was only reported in parts by some agencies such as the Associated Press, Reuters and Bloomberg. This was the excuse Vedant Patel, the Deputy Spokesperson for the US Department of State, used to dodge questions about the report in his press briefing on Tuesday.
“I am not going to comment on an IAEA report that has not been made public yet,” he said, adding that “Iran’s production of uranium enriched up to 60 percent has no credible peaceful purpose.”
Mocking the ‘joint statement,’ deputy director of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) Andrea Stricker said that “US policy has allowed Iran to accumulate 5, 20, 60% enriched uranium and maintain nuke breakout capability, not cooperate on IAEA probe or reinstall cameras, hide away advanced centrifuges, and get $10 billion and unhindered oil exports.” “Why bother with a joint statement?”