Iran IAEA envoy: US must stop violating its JCPOA obligations without delay, preconditions

Iranian flag flies in front of the UN office building in Vienna. (File photo by Reuters)

A senior Iranian diplomat with the country’s permanent mission to international organizations in Vienna says in order to end the current deadlock over the implementation of Iran’s nuclear deal, the US administration needs to stop violating its obligations under the agreement without any delay and precondition.

Mohammad Reza Ghaebi, who serves as the acting head of Iran’s mission in the Austrian capital and Tehran’s charge d’affaires there, made the remarks in an address before the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on Thursday.

“My delegation has explained in detail, the root causes and the reasons of the situation that we are facing now regarding the JCPOA,” he said, using the nuclear deal’s official acronym, which stands for the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

Credible and effective removal of sanctions, according to Ghaebi, were the reasons behind Iran’s decision to be bound by the provisions of the JCPOA, but US violations of the agreement have rendered those parts of the deal void and effectively futile.

The Iranian diplomat expressed regret over the European states’ unwillingness to clearly condemn the United States’ illegal withdrawal from the JCPOA and the re-imposition of sanctions against Iran, describing the two measures as the sole cause of all the problems surrounding the implementation of the JCPOA.

He said while the European countries refrain from urging the US to resume implementing its commitments and remove its anti-Iran sanctions, they “presumptuously [ask] Iran to implement its commitments under the deal.”

Iran signed the JCPOA with six world powers in 2015 to reassure the world of the peaceful nature of its nuclear program. However, the deal was abrogated by former US President Donald Trump in 2018 in favor of what he called the “maximum pressure” campaign against the Islamic Republic.

Diplomatic efforts have been ongoing in the Austrian capital, Vienna, since April to bring the US back into the deal and remove its anti-Iran sanctions after Washington’s so-called maximum pressure policy proved to be a miserable failure.

Iran has declared that its participation in the Vienna talks aims to have all US sanctions removed, clarifying time and again that it would reciprocate a verifiable removal of the sanctions by resuming all of its nuclear obligations under the deal.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Ghaebi told the IAEA Board of Governors that it is “unduly burdensome” and “not reasonable” to expect more forbearance from Iran as long as the sanctions remain in place.

“It is important that the outcome of these efforts ensure that all sanctions are lifted in an effective and verifiable manner,” he remarked, making a reference to the Vienna talks.

Nevertheless, he also reiterated Iran’s position that “our nuclear activities, including enrichment at different levels and production of metallic based uranium fuel are completely peaceful, in line with our rights under the NPT (Non-Proliferation Treaty), and are under the safeguards monitoring and verification of the Agency.”

Iran began to scale back its nuclear commitments under the JCPOA a year after the US withdrawal from the deal and the Europeans’ failure to shield business with Tehran in the face of US sanctions.

Tehran asserted that it was entitled to take “remedial measures” in response to the US withdrawal and the inaction of the other signatories, but also described its nuclear advancements as reversible on the condition that the US removes its sanctions and fully honors its contractual commitments without being able to leave the JCPOA again.

Ghaebi said Iran’s remedial measures are lawful based on the country's rights as enshrined in the deal, emphasizing that the Islamic Republic’s nuclear advancements are not undermining Tehran's obligations under the deal.

He explained that the IAEA has been able to service all of its equipment due to the constructive engagement between Iran and the Agency, noting that the IAEA’s equipment is not present in one of Iran’s nuclear sites as it was targeted in a terrorist attack that destroyed and damaged the equipment.

The occurrence of acts of sabotage and terrorist attacks, he continued, necessitates “firm and resolute condemnation from both the Agency and the international community.”

The Iranian diplomat concluded his remarks by describing the upcoming resumption of the Vienna talks as a “unique opportunity” for the JCPOA participants and the US to “prove their genuine intention to get back to full implementation of their commitments through lifting all inhuman and illegal sanctions in an effective manner.”

Russian envoy: All Board meeting speakers underlined need to restore JCPOA

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to international organizations in Vienna, Mikhail Ulyanov, said in a tweet later on Thursday that all speakers addressing the IAEA Board of Governors meeting emphasized the need to restore the JCPOA.

Ulyanov said, during its Thursday meeting, the “IAEA Board of Governors concluded consideration of verification and monitoring in #Iran in the light of #UNSC resolution 2231.”

He added, “Practically all speakers underlined the need to restore the #JCPOA and wished success to the #ViennaTalks which will resume next Monday.”

He also advised the IAEA in another tweet to do its best as “one of the most successful international organizations” to “preserve this well-deserved status.”


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