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Iran categorically rejects ‘baseless' nuclear allegations by Saudi Arabia, certain European states

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)
Representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the UN General Assembly First Committee Heidar Ali Balouji

Iran has categorically rejected “baseless allegations” against its nuclear and missile programs by certain European countries and Saudi Arabia, saying its peaceful programs are being pursued in line with the country’s inherent rights and international commitments.

In a statement on Thursday, Representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the UN General Assembly First Committee Heidar Ali Balouji said Iran is committed to the full implementation of the 2015 nuclear agreement, also called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), provided that the other participants live up fully to their commitments and lift all unjust sanctions in a speedy and verifiable manner.

“On JCPOA, as we stated earlier, the uncontested reality is that so far, Iran has adhered to the JCPOA terms while US and E3 have failed to meet their JCPOA obligations,” Balouji said.

He said in addition to honoring their JCPOA commitments, the European countries need to put pressure on the US to return to full implementation of the JCPOA and UN Security Council resolution 2231.

The United States, under former president Donald Trump, withdrew from the JCPOA in 2018 and targeted Iran’s economy with what it called a “maximum pressure” campaign that included draconian sanctions on Tehran and those who cooperated with it.

In response, the Islamic Republic began to suspend some of its nuclear commitments a year after the US withdrawal, in a move in accordance with the provisions of the JCPOA.

Since April, Iran and the remaining parties to the JCPOA have been holding talks in Austria’s capital, Vienna, to bring the US back into the deal and remove its anti-Iran sanctions. While the talks have been paused since Iran’s presidential election, Tehran has said it will only engage in talks that are aimed at reaching tangible outcomes.

Balouji’s remarks came after the UK representative to the UN General Assembly First Committee called on Iran to resume the Vienna talks without delay, saying, “Iran’s escalatory nuclear activity undermines the counter-proliferation value of the JCPOA and threatens its preservation.”

Aidan Liddle also voiced “deep concerns” about what he called “Iran’s destabilizing activity and its ballistic missile activities.”

Italy’s envoy, Stefano Stefanile, also voiced deep concerns about Iran’s “disengagement from the JCPOA” and urged Iran to “implement, fully and without delay, its obligations under the Plan.”

On allegations about Iran’s missile program, Balouji said Iran’s defensive missile capability is being pursued in line with the country’s inherent rights and international commitments.

‘Saudi Arabia, Israel missed no chance to undermine JCPOA’

He also denounced the Saudi representative’s anti-Iran allegations, saying the kingdom, along with the Israeli regime, did their best to derail the negotiations that led to the JCPOA, and afterward, missed no chance to seriously undermine the full and effective implementation of the deal and resolution 2231.

“They still pursue such policies and practices systematically and in gross violation of their explicit legal obligations under the Charter of the United Nations,” the Iranian envoy said.

“The representative of the KSA is raising questions about Iran’s peaceful nuclear program while it is still implementing an old version of SQPs, thus preventing the IAEA from being able to fully monitor and verify the Saudi’s nuclear activities,” he added.

The SQP or the small quantities protocol is a protocol to a comprehensive safeguards agreement concluded between the IAEA and a state on the basis that the state has less than specified minimal quantities of nuclear material and no nuclear material in a facility.

In a speech before the First Committee, Riyadh’s ambassador, Abdullah bin Yahya al-Mouallimi, had claimed that Iran’s continued enrichment of uranium beyond the JCPOA limits “poses a threat to the security of the countries of the region.”

He had also described Iran’s ballistic missile program as “dangerous” and called for efforts to address Tehran’s “negative practices” and ensure that Iran would be prevented from “acquiring nuclear weapons.”

The Iranian envoy said in response, “On regional security, raising unfounded accusations against the defensive ballistic missile program of Iran is also an attempt to cover up the skyrocketing trend in the military expenditure of Saudi Arabia and its unquenchable appetite for importing deadly arms.”

While expressing hope that Riyadh will heed Iran’s calls to establish a dialogue within the region to address regional problems, Balouji said the real source of regional insecurity is the massive build-up of foreign forces and military installations, a large number of which are hosted by some regional countries, including Saudi Arabia.

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