At the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) Board of Governors meeting on Thursday, the US threatened to take action against Tehran for not complying with an inspection clause of the Iran nuclear deal.
Earlier this year, Iran stopped voluntarily complying with the Additional Protocol, an aspect of the JCPOA that allows the IAEA to conduct snap inspections. The IAEA is demanding that Iran cooperates with the Additional Protocol, but Tehran has no obligation to since the US withdrew from the JCPOA in 2018.
Unsurprisingly, this crucial context is missing from the US statement. “If Iran’s non-cooperation is not immediately remedied … the Board will have no choice but to reconvene in extraordinary session before the end of this year in order to address the crisis,” said Louis Bono, the US envoy in Vienna.
On Friday, Russia’s envoy in Vienna denounced the US statement. “I don’t welcome this particular statement of the US delegation. It’s not helpful,” said Mikhail Ulyanov. “The US did not negotiate with the Iranians for a very long time and forgot that Iranians don’t do anything under pressure. If they are under pressure, they resist,” he added.
Ulyanov said the US statement could hurt the upcoming negotiations to revive the JCPOA, which will resume in Vienna on Monday after a long pause. Iran has no reason to cut any deals with the IAEA over the Additional Protocol at this time since the current situation can be used as leverage over the US.
Behrouz Kamalvandi, the spokesman for Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, said Thursday that the IAEA has a Western bias and doesn’t treat Iran properly. He said the nuclear watchdog is “under the influence of powerful countries” which “finance them and in exchange apply pressure on them.” Iran has previously called out the IAEA for scrutinizing its civilian nuclear program so much while ignoring Israel’s secret nuclear weapons program.