UN Nuclear Watchdog Puts Iran on Notice Ahead of Key Report

(Bloomberg) -- Iran has just weeks to comply with monitoring demands issued by the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog, or risk being slapped with a new round of diplomatic censure.

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During a two-day visit by the International Atomic Energy Agency’s top official, Iran was told to improve monitoring measures and resolve a years-old probe into the provenance of uranium traces discovered at undeclared locations.

“There is a need to deliver very soon,” IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi said late Tuesday at a press briefing in Vienna. “For the international community there is a sense of needing to move and having results sooner rather than later.”

IAEA inspectors are preparing to draft their quarterly safeguards report, informing diplomats on the state of their investigation and updating data on Iran’s growing nuclear stockpile. Their assessment will be circulated before the agency’s board of governors convenes June 3.

The US issued an ultimatum to Iran at the IAEA’s last meeting: cooperate or face censure which could lead to a referral to the UN Security Council, where sanctions on the Islamic Republic may be renewed. Some European countries already wanted to dial up the pressure in March.

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian assured the IAEA delegation that “concrete measures” would now be taken to address those international concerns, Grossi said. His visit came just weeks after an Israeli air attack struck not far from one of Iran’s largest nuclear facilities in Isfahan.

Tit-for-tat missile strikes between Israel and Iran last month have added urgency to the IAEA’s efforts to confirm the scale of Iran’s nuclear ambitions. While the agency carries out daily inspections of declared atomic facilities, suspicions linger over whether Iranian engineers could be concealing other work used for military purposes.

Iran needs to protect its nuclear activities “more strongly than before” from Israeli attacks, Mohammad Eslami, head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran said Tuesday at a press conference in Tehran before Grossi’s departure.

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