Israel to Europe: Iran Refusal to Cooperate with IAEA Is ‘Red Alert’

President Herzog with Ambassador of the United Kingdom, Simon Walters. Photo courtesy of Haim Zach (Israeli GPO).

Following Iran’s expulsion of more nuclear inspectors last week, Israel is sounding the alarm to Europe as international meetings are at full swing at the United Nations and beyond. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, meeting with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Tuesday, called the Iranian approach to ejecting inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) “unacceptable.”

An Israeli readout of the meeting, which took place in New York on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly meeting, said the two leaders “discussed Iran’s defiant actions in disseminating global terrorism and aspiring to attain nuclear weapons.” Germany, along with France and the United Kingdom, comprise a trio European nations known as the E3 that is crucial to the nuclear negotiations with Iran.

The conversation follows IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi warning that Iran had effectively kicked out about one third of the nuclear watchdog’s core group of the most experienced Iran inspectors. In comments posted to the IAEA website on Saturday, Grossi slammed the move and said that insufficient cooperation with Iran would ultimately prevent the IAEA from verifying the non-military nature of Iran’s nuclear program.

Iranian nuclear activities have already moved out of civilian use and the Islamic Republic is approaching weapons-grade enriched uranium. Efforts to revive the now defunct international nuclear deal with Iran have so far failed. This has led the United States and the “E3” group of nations to maintain sanctions on Iran, while hoping diplomacy will work.

On Tuesday in Jerusalem, Israeli President Isaac Herzog met with ambassadors from France and the UK, the other two members of the E3. In accepting the incoming ambassador credentials, Herzog told French Ambassador to Israel Frederic Journes, “The challenges facing our country, among them Hezbollah’s activity in Lebanon and Iran’s refusal to cooperate with IAEA inspectors, must be a red alert for your government.”

Herzog, whose comments were published in an Israeli press release, also brought up Iran with UK Ambassador to Israel Simon Walters, calling Iran the “chief” issue for discussion between the Israeli and British governments. Walters already agrees with Israel on the wide-ranging danger posed by Iran.

“Iran is not only a threat to the Middle East, but a threat to the entire world,” Walters was quoted by the Israeli press release as saying. “The British Government’s position regarding Iran has been very firm.”

(By Joshua Spurlock,, September 21, 2023)

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