After the IAEA issued a resolution rebuking Iran’s nuclear approach, the Islamic Republic dismantled a number of IAEA cameras.
It was this Wednesday that the IAEA Board of Governors passed a resolution rebuking Iran for not yet explaining uranium traces found at three undeclared sites. Russia and China opposed the passing of the resolution and 3 more countries, India, Libya, and Pakistan, abstained.
The text of the resolution reads that the board “expresses profound concern over the traces remained unexplained due to insufficient cooperation by Iran” and calls on Iran to engage with the UN watchdog “without delay”.
The United States, Britain, France, and Germany wrote and submitted the resolution to the IAEA. It was indeed the first resolution issued condemning Iran’s nuclear program since June 2020.
Less than 24 hours on this Thursday and in a tit-for-tat move, Tehran announced it has removed a number of the international surveillance cameras from its nuclear development sites.
Most of the cameras were installed under the terms of Iran’s nuclear deal known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). It was inked back in 2015 between Iran and five other western countries including the US to curb Iran’s nuclear program in return for lifting economic sanctions.
In defending the decision Iran took, the country’s president Ebrahim Raisi said in Tehran that “you think we would retreat …if you pass a resolution at the IAEA board of governors? We will not back off a single step from our positions.”
The head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, Mohammad Eslami, also reacted to the resolution and told the country’s official IRNA news agency that “Iran has no hidden or undocumented nuclear activities or undisclosed sites.”
Reactions to Iran’s reaction
After Iran’s move in dismantling the cameras, the IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi spoke on Thursday at a news conference in Vienna, rebuking Iran for the move.
“The surveillance equipment is being removed from sites in Tehran, the underground Natanz nuclear enrichment facility, the facility in Isfahan, and the Arak heavy water reactor in Khondab,” he said, adding also that “we are in a very tense situation with the negotiations on the revival of the JCPOA at a low ebb,” and that “we are now adding this to the picture; so, as you can see, it’s not a very nice one.”
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken also criticized Iran’s decision to remove the IAEA monitoring cameras and on Thursday, said that the Islamic Republic “is risking greater isolation and heightened tensions” about its nuclear program. “Iran’s actions threatened the possible restoration of the 2015 six-party nuclear deal, Blinken further said in a statement.
For nearly 3 years, the JCPOA was working quite well and both parties, including Iran on the one side and the US, Britain, France, Germany, and Russia on the other side, were more or less complying with their commitments under the nuclear deal.
However, since the US former president Donald Trump decided to unilaterally pull out the US from the deal in 2018, both Iran and the five western countries have been moving on the path of violating the terms of the 2015 nuclear agreement.
To make matters even worse, talks between the two sides minus Washington to revive the broken nuclear deal also failed to produce any results and came to a pause in March.