Iran hopes new IAEA chief will act ‘impartially’, ‘professionally’

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
New IAEA Director-General Rafael Grossi (Photo by AP)

Iran says it will keep up cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) under Rafael Grossi, expressing hope that the UN nuclear watchdog’s new chief will act “impartially” and “professionally.”

On Thursday, Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi offered congratulations to Grossi on his appointment as the IAEA’s director general, wishing him success during his term.

Mousavi also referred to the “very critical and important” role the IAEA plays in the fields of disarmament, non-proliferation of nuclear weapons and the enhancement of peaceful nuclear cooperation.

Iran hopes that the Vienna-based agency under Grossi “will undertake its responsibilities and important international missions in the most impartial and professional manner,” he said.

The spokesman further stressed the IAEA’s “unique” role in relation to the technical aspects of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and Iran’s peaceful nuclear cooperation with other member states of the atomic watchdog.

Iran “is ready to maintain and develop constructive interaction and cooperation with the agency with goodwill and mutual respect based on the organization’s professional accuracy and impartiality,” he said.

On Tuesday, the IAEA’s 35-nation Board of Governors picked Grossi, a 58-year-old Argentinean diplomat, to become the agency’s next chief, succeeding Yukiya Amano, who died in office in July.

After his election, Grossi, who had the early support of Brazil and the US, pledged to act independently and neutrally on issues including Iran.

“I will do my job and I think my job is to implement the mandate in a manner which is independent, which is fair, which is neutral,” he said.

The new IAEA director general is facing challenges such as the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, whose fate remains in doubt after the unilateral US withdrawal from the multilateral accord and Europe’s failure to fulfill its end of the bargain.

The US under President Donald Trump and Israel — a staunch opponent of diplomacy with Iran — have repeatedly attempted to put pressure on the IAEA to kill the JCPOA.

Prior to Grossi’s appointment, reports said the US had been meddling in favor of Argentina’s contender.

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