‘No exceptions’ for Iran


In a first since 2012, the UN nuclear watchdog yesterday called on Iran to stop denying access to IAEA inspectors to two suspected sites and cooperate fully without any further delays. The first such criticism in eight-years comes with the support of France, Germany and Britain, and the United States, as tension mounts over Tehran’s nuclear programme.

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director-General Rafael Grossi said it would be “absolutely unacceptable” if an example were to be set that states can be selective in their implementation of agreements with the UN agency. “There are no exceptions.

There is no Additional Protocol a la carte,” Grossi said, referring to the agreement under which the IAEA requested access to the sites. Yesterday’s resolution urges Tehran to provide inspectors access to two sites in Iran in order to clarify whether undeclared nuclear activity took place there in the early 2000s.

Iran has been blocking access to the sites for months, prompting a growing diplomatic row. 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.

The resolution was carried by 25 votes in favour versus two against, with seven abstentions: South Africa, India, Pakistan, Thailand, Mongolia, Azerbaijan and Niger. Russia and China, both of which had spoken out against the prospect of a resolution earlier this week, voted against.

The resolution was put forward by France, Germany and Britain, and supported by the United States -- though the American ambassador to the UN in Vienna had said: “the text could be strengthened”. Earlier this week Iran warned that such a resolution would be “counterproductive” and that it would take “appropriate measures” in response.

Russia’s Ambassador to the UN in Vienna Mikhail Ulyanov echoed that position. “While stressing the need for Tehran and IAEA to settle this problem without delay, we believe that the resolution can be counterproductive,” he tweeted.