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Top Iran official urges IAEA to drop political agenda as board meets

Rafael Grossi, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) (L) and China's Ambassador to the Permanent Mission at the United Nations Wang Qun attend the quarterly IAEA Board of Governors meeting at the agency headquarters in Vienna, Austria, on June 06, 2022. (Photo by AFP)

A senior Iranian official has urged the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency to refrain from pursuing any political agenda in his work, stating that the Islamic Republic is strongly opposed to an anti-Iran resolution at the IAEA Board of Governors.

Speaking with the IRIB TV1 television channel, Kazem Gharibabadi, Iran’s former envoy to the IAEA, explained that the agency submits two separate reports to each meeting of the Board of Governors, one on Tehran’s compliance with its nuclear-related obligations and another on its compliance with the NPT Safeguards Agreement.

In its second report, the IAEA “claimed to have documents showing nuclear-related activities in some sites and called on Iran to cooperate with the agency and clarify the matter. The Islamic Republic of Iran, for its part, cooperated with the agency in good faith and on the basis of transparency,” he said.

Gharibabadi, who is now the Iranian Judiciary chief’s deputy for international affairs and secretary of the country’s High Council for Human Rights, stated that Iran provided adequate explanations to the IAEA after tiny amounts of nuclear particles were found in one or two locations.

“I think there are two main reasons why the IAEA has amplified the issue and put it high on its agenda. One reason is the constant political pressure that the United States, some Western countries, and the Zionist regime have been exerting on the agency,” he said, pointing out that Israel itself is not a signatory to the NPT.

Grossi has ‘undeniably strong political tendencies’

Gharibabadi stressed that IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi has “undeniably strong political tendencies,” saying all IAEA reports have been influenced by outside political pressures and the political approaches of the director generals.

He went on to say that the agency lacks an independent role. “If there were no political pressures on the IAEA, the chances for resolving the issue between Iran and the agency would be very high, as our explanations for the two sites are technically and scientifically valid,” the former Iranian diplomat noted.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Gharibabadi said that IAEA resolutions are legally non-binding even if adopted.

“I hope that Western countries and the US would come to their senses and opt not to officially submit the resolution, because they know the move will further complicate the situation. I hope they would not take such a destructive step. I am opposed to any resolution against the Islamic Republic of Iran, whether at the IAEA Board of Governors, the Security Council, or the UN Human Rights Council,” he said.

Iran’s former representative to Vienna-based international organizations also called on Iranian authorities to prevent the adoption of such resolutions, because the Islamic Republic is the most transparent country in terms of nuclear activities.

Even if the IAEA passes an anti-Iran resolution, it has no legal status in the international arena, but it can still be an achievement for its masterminds in order to ramp up the psychological war against the Islamic Republic, Gharibabadi said.

“Westerners have made their decision regarding this politicized action. The United States has supported it and even prepared a draft resolution, and circulated it among its allies and members of the Board of Governors. They know how destructive their action could be, and that it would seriously damage the initiatives on the table. Hence, if such a resolution cannot be stopped, its architects must bear the cost of its passage,” he said.

In his introductory statement to the board meeting on Monday, Grossi once again repeated his anti-Iran rhetoric, alleging that since February 23, 2021, the IAEA’s “activities have been seriously affected by Iran’s decision to stop the implementation of its nuclear-related commitments under the JCPOA, including the Additional Protocol.”

He claimed that Tehran “has not provided explanations that are technically credible in relation to the agency’s findings at three undeclared locations in Iran.”

Grossi’s remarks came despite frequent warnings by Tehran that it will respond in kind in case the IAEA drifts away from its technical nature and makes a politicized decision concerning Iran’s peaceful nuclear program.

On June 1, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said the country will respond strongly and proportionately to any “unconstructive move” at the upcoming meeting of the IAEA Board of Governors. The warning came a day after Iran dismissed the agency’s latest report on its nuclear program.

“Those who regard the Board of Governors and the director general’s report as leverage and tools of political games against Iran are responsible for the consequences,” he said.

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