Robert HARNEIS -TDO- (France)- The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has dropped its previous decision to adopt an anti-Iran resolution.

“The draft resolution was dropped due to extensive diplomatic efforts in Tehran, Vienna and the capitals of all members of the [IAEA] Board of Governors, particularly the three European countries, and through the cooperation of China and Russia,” said Saeed Khatibzadeh Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman.

Turkish President Erdogan strongly backed Iran in its efforts to defeat the proposed resolution.

Khatibzadeh expressed the hope that the development would keep open the path of diplomacy initiated by Iran and the IAEA and prepare the ground for the full implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) – the Iran nuclear agreement – by all parties to the deal.

“Iran hopes that the participant parties to the JCPOA would be able to seize this opportunity and guarantee the full implementation of the JCPOA by all sides through serious cooperation,” he added.

The remarks came after a US-backed draft resolution that voiced “serious concern” about Iran’s reduced cooperation with the IAEA was dropped in favor of a more diplomatic approach. Britain, France and Germany had lobbied for the IAEA Board of Governors to adopt the resolution, but they were faced with strong opposition from Iran.

On February 23, Iran halted its voluntary implementation of the Additional Protocol that allowed the IAEA to carry out short-notice inspections at its nuclear facilities. Later, IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi visited Tehran to discuss the issue. During his visit, Tehran and the IAEA reached a technical understanding that was embraced by both sides.

Kazem Gharibabadi Iran’s permanent ambassador to international organizations in Vienna, where the IAEA is based, thanked China and Russia for their principled stances on the resolution. He urged the three European countries and the United States to take advantage of the existing diplomatic opportunities to return to effective and complete fulfillment of their commitments under the JCPOA and the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231.

“Iran will answer good will with good will,” the ambassador said.

IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi commented that the issue surrounding the IAEA’s nuclear inspections in Iran should not be used as a “bargaining chip” in any talks on the JCPOA. “The inspection work of the IAEA must be preserved... it should not be put in the middle of a negotiating table as a bargaining chip,” he said.

Russia’s Permanent Representative to the international organizations in Vienna, Mikhail Ulyanov, also commended the three European countries for dropping the adoption of the controversial resolution.

Iran’s recent decision to scale back its cooperation with the IAEA comes while Tehran and Washington are at odds over which side should first return to full compliance with the JCPOA, which was initially abandoned by former US President Donald Trump in 2018.

Trump’s withdrawal from the JCPOA was followed by what his administration termed as the “maximum pressure” campaign against Tehran. Tehran remained compliant with the nuclear deal for a year, but started to reduce its nuclear undertakings due to the failure of the remaining parties to the agreement to preserve Tehran’s rights under the accord.

Tehran maintains that the US must first lift the illegal sanctions to open a path for a mutual return to the JCPOA.

Meanwhile, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that lifting the US sanctions on Iran and returning to the JCPOA will contribute to regional stability and economic prosperity.

Ankara, which itself has come under Washington's sanctions for purchase of Russian defense systems, has on numerous occasions called for a lifting of US sanctions on Iran and a return to the JCPOA.

Last month, Erdogan told Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani in a phone call that he saw a window of opportunity for Iran and the US, adding that he wanted the sanctions to be lifted.

He said that he wished that the new US administration would abandon unilateral sanctions on Iran and lift restrictions on the prosperity of Iranian people.

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