The UN’s nuclear chief, Rafael Grossi, admitted the agency “has lost continuity of knowledge in relation to the production centrifuges, rotors and bellows, heavy water, and uranium” as Iran’s nuclear program expands unabated.

During a session with the IAEA Board of Governors, Director-General Grossi stated, “Public statements made in Iran regarding its technical capabilities to produce nuclear weapons and possible changes to Iran’s nuclear doctrine only increase my concerns about the correctness and completeness of Iran’s safeguards declarations.”

In response to Iran International about the proposed resolution by three European countries against the Islamic Republic, Grossi stated that the member countries must express their opinions on the matter and that the Agency is only obliged to comply with it if the resolution is approved.

Before the Board of Governors meeting, three diplomats told Reuters that three European countries have shared the draft text of their resolution with the member countries of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Grossi commented on Iran’s non-compliance with the Additional Protocol and Shamkhani’s threat to stop cooperating with the Agency if a resolution is issued in the Board of Governors, saying that Iran will continue to cooperate with the Agency due to its legal obligations as a member of the NPT.

Grossi articulated concerns stemming from recent public declarations in Iran that hint at a potential doctrinal shift, which may no longer consider nuclear weapons as prohibited by Islam, as earlier claimed by the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. The shift comes amid provocations from top Iranian officials who have hinted at a reconsideration of the religious ban on nuclear arms.

The Director-General also expressed regret over Iran’s recent decision to continue barring several key IAEA inspectors from the country after inspectors detected uranium enrichment levels near weapon-grade in early 2022. The discovery revealed that Iran had enriched uranium to 84% in February 2022, nearing the 90% threshold considered weapons-grade. Just weeks ago, Grossi also warned Iran is “weeks not months” away from a nuclear weapon.

Grossi lamented that his recent efforts to foster cooperation were undermined, not least by the death of Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian. He acknowledged ongoing dialogues with other Iranian officials, including Vice-President Mohammad Eslami, but noted that substantial obstacles remain.

Admitting that Iran’s uranium enrichment continues to intensify, Grossi said, “We know that Iran is considering a number of activities which require construction of new facilities, installing new cascades, among other things”. In the Monday press conference, Grossi stressed the severity of the situation as the program continues unabated. “They should be informing us of these changes,” he said.

Grossi pointed out that it has been over three years since Iran ceased applying its Additional Protocol, restricting the IAEA’s ability to perform comprehensive inspections. “There has been no progress in resolving the outstanding safeguards issues,” he stated, mentioning unresolved queries regarding traces of uranium found at undeclared sites in Varamin and Turquzabad.

On Saturday, ahead of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Board of Governors meeting, Iran issued a warning regarding a possible censure resolution. Ali Shamkhani, a senior aide to Iran’s Supreme Leader and reported head of Iran’s nuclear negotiations, declared that Iran would deliver a “serious and effective response” if European countries advanced a resolution criticizing its nuclear program.

While publicly, Iran has consistently maintained that its uranium enrichment is solely for civilian purposes and denies any ambitions to develop nuclear weapons, in recent weeks, senior Iranian officials have warned they might reconsider Tehran’s nuclear doctrine if faced with an attack.

It comes as the shadow war between Iran and its archenemy Israel came out into the open in April when Iran launched its first ever direct attack on the Jewish state. Over 350 drones and missiles were launched, mostly intercepted by Israel and a US-led coalition, but taking the years-long proxy war to a new level in which nuclear weaponry became a viable threat.

Source » iranintl