Iran envoy: IAEA’s partiality harms nonproliferation regime, lowers trust in its professional work

Kazem Gharibabadi, Iran’s permanent representative to Vienna-based international organizations

Iran’s ambassador to international organizations in Vienna, including the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), says the UN nuclear watchdog should not act in a way to seem that it is directly or indirectly supporting the political agenda of certain parties against others.

Kazem Gharibabadi made the remarks in a Thursday address to the Board of Governors of the IAEA, saying, “The Agency should not act in a way that it would be directly or indirectly supporting the political agenda of certain parties against others. Undoubtedly, this method of biased treatment of member states not only harms the nonproliferation regime, but also reduces trust in the Agency’s professional activities and lowers cooperation between the Agency and its member states.”

Gharibabadi further advised the IAEA to refrain from pursuing any political agenda, and instead take a transparent stance on the Israeli regime’s "unacceptable" failure to join the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and its continued refusal to place all of its nuclear activities and facilities under the IAEA comprehensive safeguards agreements.

This is a “bitter historical joke,” Iran's ambassador said while pointing to negligence on the part of the IAEA toward the Israeli regime’s nuclear weapons program in the volatile Middle East region.

“Regrettably, this regime (Israel) ignores the international community by downplaying the importance of the [NPT], refusing to accept it, and ... placing all of its nuclear facilities and activities under the Agency’s comprehensive safeguards regime,” Gharibabadi lamented.

According to the Iranian ambassador, such circumstances have emboldened Israel to deride the IAEA’s mandate and mission to prevent the diversion of the regime’s nuclear materials and activities.

Most importantly, the Israeli regime has been so brazen that it distorts the facts and criticizes some members of the NPT, he said, adding that this is a very serious failure on the part of the Agency, which needs to be properly addressed.

Iran warns against any Israeli adventurism 

“The Agency’s silence in this regard, along with its deafening silence over the assassination of [Iran’s] nuclear scientists and the acts of terror and sabotage at Iran’s nuclear facilities, calls into question the Agency’s credibility and impartiality and arouses suspicion that it is a political organization rather than a professional one,” the Iranian envoy remarked.

Gharibabadi called on the IAEA to immediately address the concerns he raised, saying the Islamic Republic strongly warns against any adventurism by the Israeli regime.

He said Iran will not only give a decisive response should such criminal actions, including the assassination of Iran’s nuclear scientist, reoccur, but also there will be no other way for Tehran but to reconsider its transparency-building measures and its cooperation with the IAEA.

Iran has continued to fulfill its commitments under the Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement, the ambassador said, adding that the country will continue to take any necessary transparency-building measure and grant any necessary access to its nuclear activities as per the Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement.

Gharibabadi noted that all nuclear materials in Iran are under the Agency’s safeguards as per the Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement and there has never been seen any sign of diversion in Iran’s nuclear materials or declared activities.

Iran’s ambassador also sharply criticized the latest report on Iran’s nuclear program by IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi, saying that while Iran has been engaged in practical and constructive interactions with the Agency, it is regrettable that the Agency’s secretariat has taken an unconstructive approach to Iran at the cost of harming its own credibility.

The Agency’s latest report, he said, is a repetition of its previous one without any mention of the latest progress made by the two sides.

This report, Gharibabadi noted, proves the IAEA secretariat’s one-sided approach to Iran, which ignores the level of cooperation and interaction between the two sides.

Iran’s ambassador then noted that the continuation of such an approach to Iran’s nuclear activities by the Agency can turn into an obstacle to future goodwill interactions between the two sides.

Russia: Discovered nuclear material in Iran no proliferation risk

Addressing the Thursday meeting of the Board of Governors, Russia’s permanent ambassador to international organizations in Vienna, Mikhail Ulyanov, said discovered traces of nuclear material in Iran are of historical nature and pose not proliferation risks.

“For other states, similar issues are addressed bilaterally and may take time. In the case of Iran, the politicization of the issue is detrimental,” Ulyanov said, calling on the IAEA to return to routine cooperation with Iran because “political speculation and external pressure lead nowhere.”

He also called for efforts to find a way to exclude proliferation risks and solve the remaining issues before resulting in yet another crisis, and praised Grossi’s efforts to sustain dialogue with Iran.

The continuation of such dialogue is “key for resolving outstanding issues. For Iran it’s just as important to ensure cooperation and provide clarifications to take those issues off of the BoG agenda,” Ulyanov said.

The Russian envoy also criticized the recurring leakage of IAEA director general reports from “what should be a confidential portal,” saying it would only make it harder to work in a calm manner to address outstanding issues with Iran.

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