Vienna International Centre, where IAEA offices are located
Vienna International Centre, where IAEA offices are locatediStock

The United States, Britain, France and Germany on Tuesday submitted a motion to the UN atomic energy watchdog to censure Iran over its lack of cooperation with the agency, diplomats said, according to the AFP news agency.

The resolution urging Iran to cooperate fully with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is the first since June 2020 when a similar motion censuring Iran was adopted.

In a joint statement to the IAEA's Board of Governors, which meets this week, Britain, France and Germany said they "strongly urge Iran to stop escalating its nuclear program and to urgently conclude (the) deal that is on the table."

"Its nuclear program is now more advanced than at any point in the past," they said, adding Iran's accumulation of enriched uranium has no "credible civilian justification".

The resolution comes a week after the IAEA released a report in which it said that it still had questions which were "not clarified" regarding previous undeclared nuclear material at three sites in Iran named as Marivan, Varamin and Turquzabad.

In a separate report, the IAEA estimated that Iran's stockpile of enriched uranium had grown to more than 18 times the limit agreed in the 2015 deal with world powers.

IAEA head Rafael Grossi told reporters on Monday that it would be "a matter of just a few weeks" before Iran could get sufficient material needed for a nuclear weapon if they continued to develop their program.

On the issue of traces of enriched uranium, Grossi told reporters after opening the week-long meeting of the 35-member board that he hoped "to solve these things once and for all".

The motion by the US and the three European countries condemning Iran's lack of cooperation was submitted overnight from Monday to Tuesday, a European diplomat told AFP. Several others confirmed the news.

The vote on the motion is likely to happen on Wednesday or Thursday, according to diplomats.

Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh told state TV on Monday that Iran would reject the resolution, saying it would have "a negative impact both on the general direction of our cooperation with the IAEA and on our negotiations".

The resolution comes as talks to revive the landmark 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers remain deadlocked after stalling in March.

Iran scaled back its compliance with the 2015 deal, in response to former US President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the agreement in May of 2018, but has held several rounds of indirect talks with the US on a return to the agreement.

Last week, US Special Envoy for Iran Rob Malley told lawmakers that the prospects for reaching a deal with Iran are “tenuous” at best.

A day later, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian accused Israel of “taking control” of United States policy, thus preventing a revival of the 2015 nuclear deal.