Iran turns off cameras at nuclear site in apparent censorship grievances

Iran on Wednesday removed two International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) surveillance cameras from one of its nuclear facilities, state television reported, in a move likely to heighten tensions with the United Nations nuclear watchdog.

“Until now, the IAEA has not only been ungrateful for the extensive cooperation with Iran, but also considers it a duty. As of today, the relevant authorities have ordered that surveillance cameras from the Online Enrichment Meter (OLEM) be shut down,” the statement said. declaration. said television.

The report did not identify the site. Iran is currently enriching uranium at both its underground nuclear sites in Fordo and Natanz.

The United States, Britain, Germany and France angered Iran by submitting to the IAEA board a draft resolution criticizing Iran for failing to fully answer the watchdog’s questions about uranium traces in undeclared sites .

The resolution text, seen by Reuters and little changed from a draft circulated last week, will be discussed and voted on this week at the quarterly meeting of the IAEA’s 35 Country Council.

“Iran cannot cooperate while the IAEA is acting unreasonably. We hope the agency will come to its senses and respond with cooperation with Iran,” Behrouz Kamalvandi, spokesman for Iran’s Atomic Energy Agency, told state television.

Several diplomats said the resolution was likely to pass easily, despite warnings from Iran of retaliation and consequences that could further undermine already stalled talks to salvage the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. Iran’s ally Russia opposes such a resolution.

The motion for a resolution submitted says that the board “expresses its deep concern that security issues related to these three undeclared sites remain unresolved due to insufficient substantive cooperation by Iran, despite numerous interactions with the agency.”

The text also states that the Governing Council “Calls on Iran to act urgently to fulfill its legal obligations and to respond without delay to the offer of the Director General of the (IAEA) to further commit to all clarify and resolve outstanding security issues.”

Talks about extending nuclear deal on hold

Their goal is to bring both countries back into full deal compliance after a US withdrawal and reimposition of sanctions in 2018 prompted Iran to violate many of the deal’s limits on its nuclear activities.

“Those who push for an anti-Iran resolution at the IAEA will be responsible for all the consequences,” Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian said on Twitter on Sunday about the talks.

A photo taken on November 10, 2019, shows an Iranian flag at Iran’s Bushehr nuclear power plant. The United States, Britain, Germany and France have submitted a draft resolution to the board of the UN nuclear watchdog criticizing Iran for not fully answering the watchdog’s questions about uranium traces in undeclared sites. (Atta Kenare/AFP via Getty Images)

Last week, Amirabdollahian said any political action by the United States and its three European allies at the IAEA “will undoubtedly be met with a proportionate, effective and immediate response from Iran.”

In 2015, Iran signed a multipartite nuclear deal, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, in which Iran received sanctions relief in return for pledges to limit its uranium enrichment. In 2018, the US under Donald Trump withdrew America from the accord, to the consternation of European allies who had also signed.

Negotiations between Iran and the West to restart the accord have been underway since Joe Biden took office but appeared to have hit a stumbling block in March and have not resumed.

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