Iran has refused to allow IAEA inspectors access to two sites where information suggests it could be hiding nuclear activity. Today the IAEA adopted a resolution calling on Iran to “fully cooperate with the Agency.”
International nuclear inspectors and the United States accused Iran on Friday of hiding suspected nuclear activity, the first time in more than eight years that Tehran has been accused of obstructing inspections, paving the way for a new confrontation with Western powers.
The accusation came in a resolution passed by the board of governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Nations watchdog, after its new director general, Rafael Grossi, reported that Iranian officials had repeatedly blocked inspectors and “sanitized” a site they wanted to visit beginning last July.
It was the first time that the big European powers — Britain, France and Germany — have sided with the Trump administration on a major Iran issue since splitting with President Trump on his decision more than two years ago to abandon the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement negotiated by the administration of former President Barack Obama.
The resolution was strongly opposed by the world’s leading authoritarian governments. Russia issued a joint statement today with Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif. Here’s Zarif referring to the UK, France and Germany as US “cronies.”
Iran & Russia are "determined to deal with unilateral & illegal approaches to resolve global crises.”
From joint statement with FM Lavrov in Moscow today, where we reaffirmed commitment to int'l law as US & cronies attack foundation of int'l relations at IAEA & Security Council. pic.twitter.com/hQ1xxCbjPA
— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) June 16, 2020
Zarif also claimed that famously open and transparent Iran had “nothing to hide.”
BoG should not allow JCPOA enemies to jeopardize Iran's supreme interests. E3 should not be an accessory, after failing own JCPOA duties
We've nothing to hide. More inspections in Iran over last 5 yrs than in IAEA history
An agreeable solution is possible, but Res will ruin it. pic.twitter.com/qg9mblIjMy
— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) June 18, 2020
Brian H. Hook, the State Department’s special envoy for Iran policy, told the NY Times, “If only that were true.” In addition to support from Russia, China also strongly opposed the resolution before it was passed:
Ahead of the vote, China warned that even a toned-down rebuke of Tehran over its alleged lack of cooperation with inspectors could unravel global efforts to contain the spread of nuclear weapons, as well as sounding the death knell for the already beleaguered 2015 accord.
“The root causes of this situation lie in the unilateral and bullying practices of the U.S.,” Beijing envoy to the IAEA Wang Qun said Thursday.
All of this information on nuclear sites apparently stems from an Israeli raid into Iran in 2018. After that raid yielded documents about the Iranian nuclear program, Israel identified one nuclear site mentioned in the documents and Iran refused the IAEA access. However, satellite photos show that it did destroy some building at the site as if trying to hide something.
This show of unity is a win for the Trump administration, but as the Times points out, there’s no hope the UN will do anything about this in the Security Council because everyone knows Russia and China would veto any action against Iran. So this one page statement is probably as far as this goes.