No one can dictate Iran’s nuclear program, claimed Iranian IAEA envoy in response to the critical reports presented by the nuclear watch dog. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said in two confidential reports on Tuesday, cited by Western media outlets, that Iran has continued to increase production of high-enriched uranium while failing to resume full cooperation with nuclear inspectors.
The IAEA reports also elucidated the watchdog’s heightened concern on the fact that Iran’s nuclear materials are present at several undeclared locations, something it wants Iran to become transparent about and adequately explain.
The circulation of the IAEA report compelled Iran’s IAEA envoy, Kazem Gharibabadi, to assert no one can dictate Iran’s nuclear program or force the country to halt its nuclear activities. They envoy pointed out that these activities are within the safeguards of IAEA and in full abidance to non-proliferation commitments, as long as unilateral United States sanctions remain in place.
Iran under US sanctions
Iran has responded with defiance to a critical report by the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog, signaling a difficult path ahead as world powers continue to try to restore the country’s 2015 nuclear deal.
The US withdrew from Iran’s nuclear deal in 2018, imposing harsh sanctions that continue being enforced by President Joe Biden as all signatories, including China, Russia and European powers, try to restore the accord.
Iran is now enriching uranium to 60 percent, its highest ever rate, in response to the sanctions, in addition to attacks on its nuclear sites and the assassination of one of its top nuclear scientists. The agency said Iran’s stockpile of 60 percent enriched uranium has now reached 10 kilograms.
Read more: Can the Iran nuclear deal survive as Iran violates uranium thresholds
Difficulties for IAEA to monitor Iran’s nuclear program
On Tuesday, Gharibabadi also said a temporary three-month agreement struck in late February to prevent partial restriction of IAEA monitoring activities – which was previously extended for another month – has expired and Iran is under no obligation to further extend it.
It is unclear whether Iran is still recording its nuclear facilities with agency cameras, or holding on to the tapes. But if the tapes are destroyed, as Iran has threatened would happen if US sanctions are not lifted, the IAEA will face a significant gap in its monitoring of Iran’s nuclear program.
Read more: US Iran nuclear deal to be revived soon
No need to beat about the bush about Iran’s past nuclear activities
By referring to the IAEA objection that Iran’s nuclear materials are scattered and are present at undeclared sites, the envoy cleared this point by claiming that this issue was two decades ago and Iran had already offered sufficient cooperation. So, there is no point in beating about the bush.
“The agency must maintain its independence and professionalism and agency members must seriously refrain from trying to use it to achieve their political goals,” Gharibabadi said, pointing out that Iran accounts for more than one-fifth of all IAEA monitoring while the agency conducts no inspections in Israel.
Western powers and Israel, which said it has “greatly accelerated” its military plans to deal with Iran’s nuclear programme, are concerned Tehran might seek a nuclear weapon. Iran has consistently maintained it will never pursue a bomb and that Iran’s nuclear program is peaceful.
Read more: Israeli PM urges “coercive measures” against Iran nuclear program