VIENNA (Reuters) – The United States on Thursday threatened to confront Iran at the International Atomic Energy Agency next month if it does not cooperate more with the watchdog – an escalation that could undermine talks on relaunching a big power deal with Iran in 2015.

Tehran is locked in several dead ends with the IAEA, whose 35-nation Board of Governors is meeting quarterly this week.

Then-President Donald Trump withdrew Washington from the 2015 deal that lifted sanctions in exchange for restrictions on Iran’s atomic activities. It reimposed debilitating sanctions, after which Tehran gradually expanded its nuclear activities and reduced cooperation with the IAEA.

Iran denies IAEA access to reinstall cameras surveillance in a workshop at the TESA Karaj complex. The IAEA also wants answers on the origin of uranium particles found at apparently ancient but undeclared sites, and says Iran continues to subject its inspectors to “grossly invasive physical searches.”

“If Iran’s non-cooperation is not immediately corrected (…) the Council will have no choice but to meet again in extraordinary session before the end of this year in order to resolve the crisis “said a US statement to the Board of Governors.

Political cartoons about world leaders

He said he was referring “in particular” to the relocation of IAEA cameras to the Karaj workshop, which manufactures parts for advanced centrifuges that enrich uranium.

This workshop was hit by apparent sabotage in June, which Iran said was an attack by its nemesis Israel.

One of the four IAEA cameras installed there was destroyed and its images are missing. Iran removed all cameras after the incident. Israel has not commented on the incident.

IAEA chief Rafael Grossi said on Wednesday he was unsure whether the workshop was functioning again and time was running out to reach an agreement.

An extraordinary board meeting would most likely be aimed at passing a resolution against Iran, a diplomatic escalation that could upset Tehran.

This could jeopardize the indirect talks between Iran and the United States on relaunching the 2015 agreement, which is due to resume on Monday.

(Reporting by François Murphy; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

Copyright 2021 Thomson Reuters.