| 24 May 2024, Friday |

France leaves door open for IAEA action on Iran

France said on Thursday that it could still act with its partners against Iran at an upcoming meeting of the United Nations nuclear watchdog’s board, following Tehran’s announcement that it would resume nuclear talks with world powers at the end of November.

After Tehran agreed to extend monitoring of some nuclear activities and invited IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi to Tehran for talks on key outstanding issues, Western powers scrapped plans for a resolution criticizing Iran at the International Atomic Energy Agency in September.

The decision by the United States, France, the United Kingdom, and Germany not to press for a resolution by the IAEA’s 35-nation board of governors averted an escalation with Iran that could have ended hopes of resuming wider talks in Vienna to resurrect the 2015 nuclear deal.

Iran and the European Union, which is coordinating the talks, announced on Wednesday that all parties had agreed to return to Vienna on November 29.

Western states have grown increasingly frustrated as Iran has failed to fully honor an IAEA monitoring agreement, continues to violate its 2015 agreement, and has yet to allow Grossi to visit Tehran for high-level talks promised in September. It has also failed to adequately address outstanding questions about previous nuclear activities.

“Iran must resume dialogue and cooperation with the agency as soon as possible in order to make progress on outstanding issues,” French Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Anne-Claire Legendre said in a daily briefing to reporters.

When asked if Iran’s decision to return to nuclear talks makes it unlikely that Western powers will rebuke Tehran at the IAEA board’s next quarterly meeting on November 18, he said yes. Legendre stated that Paris was still deeply concerned about Iran’s failure to meet its obligations and commitments, including those made in September.

“We remain very attentive, together with our partners, to ensuring that Iran respects its commitments, and we remain in close consultation on the response to be provided on this,” she said.

  • Reuters