IAEA Passed the Resolution Against Iran
On Wednesday, June 8, the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) passed the resolution of United Nations (UN) inspectors calling for full cooperation to investigate three undeclared sites in Iran. The anti-Iran resolution draft prepared by the USA and E3 (Germany, UK, and France) was put to the vote on the evening of Wednesday, June 8, in the Board of Governors that consists of 35 member states. As the result of the vote, the draft resolution passed by 30 votes against two votes (Russia and China). Three countries - India, Libya, and Pakistan - abstained from voting. Thus, the IAEA Board of Governors passed a resolution against Iran for the first time since June 2020. The decision followed the ten-weeks pause in the nuclear negotiations. The resolution is based on the reasons that Iran did not act in accordance with the NPT Safeguards Agreement obligations regarding the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and did not act in cooperation with the IAEA. Through this resolution, the UN-affiliated IAEA Board of Governors calls on Iran to take immediate action to fulfill its NPT obligations.
What is the Reason Behind the Resolution Against Iran?
It is possible to say that the issue which triggered the resolution against Iran after two years is the unresolved conflict since 2019 regarding three nuclear facilities that Iran did not report to IAEA. It is believed that the relevant facilities and the activities in these facilities are related to Iran’s pre-2004 nuclear weapons research. Although the Possible Military Dimension Investigation of the IAEA concerning the military dimension of Iran’s pre-2004 nuclear activities was closed in 2015, IAEA started to request information and access from Iran about the relevant three places as of 2019. The intelligence reports, known as the "Iranian Nuclear Archive", that Israel claims to have stolen from Iran and submitted to the IAEA in 2018, are presented as the reason behind this situation. Nevertheless, the IAEA has not made any official statement that it has neither received the material submitted by Israel, nor has it started a new investigation based on these documents. Still, it is known that every piece of information submitted by a member state to the IAEA is subjected to a process of review and verification.
On March 5, 2022, Iran and IAEA agreed on a road map for the solution to the conflict regarding the three facilities and their activities. According to this agreement, Iran promised to provide a written statement to IAEA until March 20, 2022. As promised, Iran submitted a written document to the IAEA. However, IAEA stated in its latest report that Iran’s responses are not “technically credible explanations,” and it “undermines confidence in the peaceful nature of its current nuclear program.”
Apart from its relation to the IAEA-Iran conflict that has been elaborated above, this resolution against Iran can be considered as a response to Iran’s policy of escalating the tension by accelerating its nuclear activities as of 2021. In fact, Iran currently violates all restrictions concerning six main issues (IAEA inspection, amount of uranium stock, the level of uranium enrichment, the type of uranium reactor, nuclear facilities, used fuel-plutonium, the metal of uranium-processing activities) that is regulated by the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) to limit Iran’s nuclear program. Recent developments on these issues create concerns for the international community. According to the IAEA's latest report on Iran's current nuclear program, dated May 30, 2022, Tehran has 60% enriched uranium stock that is sufficient to create a nuclear bomb (25 kg) in less than ten days if it is enriched with weapons-grade material. To put it more clearly, Iran's nuclear threshold time - the time required to obtain the fissile material that is necessary to make a single bomb - (breakout time) has decreased to ten days. Iran also continues to obtain new knowledge and expertise in the process of making nuclear weapons by enriching uranium with 60% purity and using advanced centrifuges.
The Statements From the Parties After the Resolution
After the resolution, E3 and the USA released a joint statement that “The overwhelming majority in the voting on the IAEA Board of Governors sends an unambiguous message to Iran that it must meet its NPT obligations and provide technically credible explanations for pending security measures.” In his statement regarding the resolution against Iran, Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said that “The USA and E3 put their shortsighted agenda ahead of IAEA’s credibility by pushing a miscalculated and ill-advised resolution. The initiators are responsible for the consequences. Iran’s response is firm and proportionate.”
In the press conference on Thursday, June 9, Rafael Grossi, the Director-General of the IAEA, stated that after the Board of Governors' resolution against Iran, Iran started to remove 27 cameras in its nuclear facilities, which are within the scope of the Safeguards Agreement. Grossi made the assessment that “Of course, the move poses a serious challenge to our ability to continue working in Iran and to check the accuracy of the information given by Iran within the scope of the Safeguards Agreement.” It is possible to say that all these developments will negatively affect the cooperation between IAEA and Iran, the relationship between Iran and Western countries, which is currently very fragile, and therefore the nuclear negotiations.