Europeans drop plan to censure Tehran at IAEA

Published March 5, 2021
European nations will not go ahead with a planned resolution criticising Iran at this week’s meeting of the UN nuclear watchdog. — File photo
European nations will not go ahead with a planned resolution criticising Iran at this week’s meeting of the UN nuclear watchdog. — File photo

VIENNA: European nations will not go ahead with a planned resolution criticising Iran at this week’s meeting of the UN nuclear watchdog, diplomatic sources said on Thursday, as efforts were underway to revive an ailing 2015 deal between Tehran and world powers on its nuclear programme.

France, Britain and Germany had planned to introduce a resolution at a meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s board of governors, with the support of the United States, criticising Iran’s suspension of some IAEA inspections.

However, diplomats said the resolution, which had not yet been formally submitted, will now not be put forward.

The decision to hold off was taken “to give time to diplomacy”, with one source pointing to “initiatives undertaken by (IAEA Director General Rafael) Grossi” and signs of “good faith” on the Iranian side.

Grossi announced on Thursday that Iran had accepted holding a series of meetings with the UN nuclear watchdog in order to “clarify a number of outstanding issues”.

US President Joe Biden has said he is willing to bring the United States back to the landmark 2015 deal, known as the JCPOA.

It has been unravelling since Biden’s predecessor Donald Trump pulled the US out of the agreement in 2018.

Iran welcomed the European decision not to go ahead with a resolution.

“Today’s developments can keep open the path of diplomacy initiated by Iran and the IAEA,” foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said.

‘Wisdom prevails’

Grossi said “a technical meeting which will take place in Iran at the beginning of April” as part of a new process aimed at clarifying queries the IAEA has raised about the possible previous presence of nuclear material at undeclared sites.

He said it was his “intention to try to come to a satisfactory outcome for all of this in time for the next regular session of the board of governors” in June.

Published in Dawn, March 5th, 2021

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