The International Atomic Energy Authority’s board of governors on Friday approved a resolution urging Iran to fully cooperate with it and allow the watchdog agency’s inspectors into two suspected nuclear sites.
The board voted to approve the resolution, introduced by France, Germany and Britain, by a 25-2 margin with seven abstentions. Iranian allies China and Russia opposed the measure.
It marked the first criticism of Iran by the IAEA board since 2015. The resolution expresses “serious concern” that Iran has not provided the U.N. agency’s inspectors access as called for by international nuclear non-proliferation agreements.
Citing Tehran’s “continued lack of clarification regarding agency questions related to possible undeclared nuclear material and nuclear related activities,” the board backed complaints voiced by IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi, who says his inspectors have not been allowed into a pair of small-scale research sites.
Grossi said he is also seeking clarification on the origin of undeclared nuclear material found at another site.
Iran contends the information leading inspectors to the sites is “unfounded” and fabricated by Israeli intelligence.
Kazem Gharibabadi, Iran’s representative to international organizations in Vienna, criticized the resolution and declared the Islamic Republic will take “appropriate action” in response.
“Adoption of this resolution will neither encourage Iran to grant access to the Agency based on fabricated and unfounded allegations nor will it force Iran to come down from its principal positions,” he said.
“Iran categorically deplores this resolution and will take appropriate action in response, the repercussions of which would be upon the sponsors of this resolution.”
Israeli Defense Minister and Alternate Prime Minister Benny Gantz, meanwhile, applauded the IAEA action.
“We’ve known for years that Iran is concealing blatant violations of the Non-Proliferation treaty,” he wrote in a tweet.
Wang Qun, China’s envoy to the United Nations, warned the resolution could trigger the demise of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, commonly known as the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.
He called on all parties to “position themselves on the right side of history” through “constructive dialogue and cooperation between the IAEA and Iran.”
France, Germany and Britain have the option to submit Iran’s noncompliance with the IAEA into the JCPOA’s formal dispute mechanism, but have not yet shown willingness to do so.