US will join Europe to back IAEA resolution against Iran: State Department
A State Department official played down an Israeli report about a potentially revised nuclear deal, saying the US continues to believe that a mutual return to compliance with the original JCPOA would be the best way forward.
The US will join European powers to submit a resolution calling on Iran to “fully cooperate” with the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), a State Department official said Thursday.
“We can confirm that we plan to join the UK, France and Germany in seeking a resolution to focus on the need for Iran to fully cooperate with the IAEA,” State Department Spokesman Ned Price said during a press briefing.
“It is essential that Iran does fully comply with its binding obligations,” he added.
The US move comes despite Iran’s warning that such a resolution would be unconstructive while threatening to “respond” if the West went ahead.
The UN nuclear watchdog released a report questioning nuclear material found at three different locations. And Iran reportedly failed to provide adequate answers over the IAEA’s questions.
Reports have indicated that the US had previously pushed back against efforts to condemn Iran for its lack of clarification on the sites, particularly as the Biden administration fights tooth and nail to revive the 2015 nuclear deal.
But as efforts to reach a deal have stalled, it appears Washington has decided to change course on the matter.
“Iran needs to comply with the IAEA in answering these outstanding questions regarding its obligations under the [non-proliferation treaty] and its comprehensive safeguards,” Price said on Thursday.
Asked what had changed for the Biden administration to now seek the resolution, Price said recent reports were a cause for “deep concern about questions” on Iran’s activities.
While indirect talks between the US and Iran on the nuclear deal have been stalled for months, an article in the Jerusalem Post suggested that Israel had put a new proposal on the table for the US to study.
The report said that Israel’s national security advisor, who was in Washington this week, said the US could propose to Iran that it would lift economic sanctions if Tehran agreed to scrap the “sunset clauses” in the 2015 nuclear deal.
The sunset clauses, which were set to expire less than 10 years from now, would allow Iran to enrich uranium at a level potentially needed to develop a nuclear weapon.
Price played down the report, saying the US continues to believe that mutual return to compliance with the original JCPOA would be the best way forward to secure US national security interests.
But he also warned that if there continues to be no progress in Vienna, the US will consult with its partners and allies on steps “to see to it that we can fulfill President Biden’s solemn commitment that Iran is never able to acquire a nuclear weapon.”
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