Iran warns against UN nuclear watchdog resolution

VIENNA: Iran criticised on Tuesday (Jun 16) a plan to put forward a resolution at a meeting of the UN's nuclear watchdog urging the country to allow access to two disputed sites.

European states are expected to put the resolution before the International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) board of governors' meeting this week.

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"Introduction of this resolution aiming to call on Iran to cooperate with the Agency … is disappointing and absolutely counterproductive," said Kazem Gharib Abadi, Iran's UN ambassador in Vienna.

Diplomats say the resolution will call on Iran to provide access to two locations where past nuclear activity may have occurred – sites to which the IAEA has been trying to gain access for months.

At the start of this week's meeting on Monday, IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi repeated his appeal to Iran to "cooperate immediately and fully" and grant access.

Even though the sites in question are not thought to be directly relevant to Iran's current nuclear programme, the agency says it needs to know if activities going back almost two decades have been properly declared and all materials accounted for.

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Iran has slowly abandoned limits on its nuclear activities since US President Donald Trump withdrew from the 2015 nuclear accord. (Photo: AFP)

But in Tuesday's statement, Gharib Abadi warned that if the resolution was adopted "Iran would have no choice but to take appropriate measures, the consequences of which would be upon the sponsors of such political and destructive approaches".

He did not specify what these measures would be.

'COMPLICATIONS AND DIFFICULTIES'

The IAEA's board of governors hasn't passed a resolution critical of Iran since 2012.

While it would be largely symbolic in character, it could be a prelude for the dispute being referred to the UN Security Council, the only UN body that can impose sanctions.

Gharib Abadi's statement argued that the IAEA's access requests were based on allegations from Iran's arch-enemy Israel.

Additional information provided by the IAEA in support of its requests "were merely some commercial satellite imageries that contained no convincing underlying reason" to provide access, he added.

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