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UN nuclear watchdog overwhelmingly calls on Iran to allow inspections of old sites

The United Nations nuclear watchdog’s 35-nation Board of Governors, which includes Canada, called on Iran on Friday to stop denying the agency access to two suspected former sites and to co-operate fully with it, diplomats attending the meeting said.

A resolution, adopted in a vote called after China expressed opposition to it, raised pressure on Iran to let inspectors into the sites mentioned in two International Atomic Energy Agency reports, because they could still host undeclared nuclear material or traces of it.

The text of the resolution submitted by France, Britain and Germany and obtained by Reuters said the board “calls on Iran to fully co-operate with the Agency and satisfy the Agency’s requests without any further delay, including by providing prompt access to the locations specified by the Agency.”

Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with major powers drew a line under what the IAEA and U.S. intelligence services believe was a covert, co-ordinated atomic weapons program halted in 2003. But Israel’s seizure of what it calls part of an “archive” of Iran’s past work appears to have yielded new clues on old activities.

Iran disputes findings

The IAEA suspects activities possibly related to developing nuclear weapons were carried out in the early 2000s at these sites. Iran has suggested the IAEA is seeking access based on the Israeli information, which it argues is inadmissible. It also says the IAEA file on its old activities has been closed.

The resolution, the first by the board since 2015 and the implementation of the nuclear deal, was passed by a 25-2 margin with seven abstentions, diplomats said.

Iranian allies China and Russia opposed the measure while South Africa, India, Pakistan, Thailand, Mongolia, Azerbaijan and Niger abstained.

“I think the pronouncement has been clear,” IAEA chief Rafael Grossi told reporters. “I intend to sit down with Iran very soon and to try to solve this as soon as possible.”

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