UAE tells UN of 'profound concern' over Iran's nuclear activities

Diplomats call for Tehran to co-operate with weapons inspectors

An Iranian flag flies in Iran's Bushehr nuclear power plant in November, 2019, during an official ceremony to kick-start works on a second reactor at the facility. Atta Kenare / AFP
Powered by automated translation

The UAE expressed “profound concern” about Iran’s nuclear programme as it joined calls for Tehran to co-operate with UN inspectors.

Hamad Alkaabi, the UAE's permanent representative to the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency, said Iran’s uranium enrichment did not have “realistic peaceful uses”.

He told a non-proliferation meeting in Vienna that Iran should address IAEA concerns to “build confidence in the peaceful intent” of its activities.

Iran has enriched and stockpiled uranium and installed new centrifuges since the US withdrew from a 2015 deal with the regime, raising fears it is seeking nuclear arms.

Several diplomats voiced concern in Vienna that the deal remains in limbo, despite more than two years of talks aimed at bringing Iran and the US back to compliance.

The IAEA, which is in a separate dispute with Iran over unexplained nuclear traces in the country, says it has been blocked from monitoring Tehran’s activities for two years.

The UAE “continues to endorse diplomacy and dialogue to address Iran's nuclear concerns”, Mr Alkaabi said.

He said Iran had continued to enrich uranium to 20 and 60 per cent – well above the 3.67 per cent cap under the deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

“Such activities are neither consistent with the JCPOA nor have realistic peaceful uses and continue to be a source of profound concern to my country,” he said.

“We call on Iran to address all safeguards-related concerns in a verifiable, timely and complete manner, to refrain from any actions that could undermine the agency’s safeguards and the global non-proliferation regime, and to further build confidence in the peaceful intent and nature of its nuclear activities.”

Iran, which denies seeking nuclear weapons, blamed the US for what it called the current “dire situation” of the 2015 deal. It described its flouting of the agreement as “remedial action” after sanctions were restored on Tehran.

Norway said Iran’s obstructionism made it more difficult to revive the JCPOA because there would be “considerable uncertainties” about the current state of its activities.

Another concern is over what Norway called “considerably increased Iranian nuclear know-how”. Western diplomats have warned that such gains could be irreversible even if a deal were restored.

Australia called on Iran to “reverse all steps away from the JCPOA” and “allow complete IAEA verification” that it is using nuclear technology peacefully. Poland said it was particularly important to stop enriching uranium. A level of 90 per cent enrichment is regarded as weapons-grade.

Aidan Liddle, a UK representative, told the talks that Iran’s nuclear programme was “more advanced than ever” and “poses a clear threat to regional and global security”.

South Korea said it hoped “Iran’s full and unfettered co-operation with the IAEA” could build on tentative progress after agency’s director general Rafael Grossi visited Tehran in March.

The IAEA told the conference last week that “some progress has been made” in addressing concerns but “not as much as the director general had hoped for” after his visit.

Updated: August 08, 2023, 4:16 AM