In Brief: Iran faces censure vote at IAEA meeting as uranium stockpile grows

Negotiations about Iranian Nuclear Program, US State Department, Public domain.

Britain, the US and their European allies are expected to push for a resolution censuring Iran when the International Atomic Energy Agency’s leading figures meets this week.

The resolution – urging Tehran to “fully cooperate” with the IAEA – is backed by France and Germany but opposed by China and Russia.

The meeting in Vienna comes days after the head of the watchdog, Rafael Grossi, visited Israel to brief Naftali Bennett. It also follows the release early last week of the IAEA’s latest report which warned that Iran’s stockpile of highly enriched uranium – which has risen by nearly 10kg to 43.3kg over the last three months – is now roughly sufficient for a nuclear bomb.

If the censure motion is adopted it will be the first such resolution since June 2020 – just over a year before talks to revive the 2015 nuclear deal (pictured) commenced in Vienna last April.

Despite the efforts of the Biden administration, with which Iran refuses to speak directly, the negotiations have been stalled for several months. A major stumbling block remains the US’ refusal to remove the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps from its official list of terror groups. The Iranian demand comes despite Tehran’s insistence that it is not willing to discuss non-nuclear issues – such as the IRGC’s regional activities and the regime’s ballistic missile programme and support for terrorism and Shia militias – as part of the negotiations.

Over the weekend, Josep Borrell, the EU’s foreign policy chief, warned that the possibility of restoring the nuclear agreement was “shrinking”, although “extra effort” might produce a breakthrough, he added.