Iran’s nuclear agency chief has again blasted the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for repeating old allegations against the country’s civilian nuclear program, based on bogus Israeli claims.
Mohammad Eslami, the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), addressing a press conference in the central Iranian city of Natanz on Thursday, said the false allegations made by the IAEA are detrimental to ongoing negotiations to revive the 2015 nuclear deal.
“Now that the negotiations for [the US] return to the JCPOA [nuclear deal] are underway, the same old allegations are being repeated by citing fabricated claims made by the Zionist regime,” Eslami said.
He was referring to the UN nuclear agency’s mention of the so-called PMD (possible military dimensions) file on Iran’s nuclear program, insisting that such schemes will not help negotiations.
Eslami stressed that the reasoning behind signing the 2015 nuclear deal – officially referred to as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) – was the closure of false Western allegations about possible military applications of Iran’s civilian nuclear program under the PMD file.
He said the PMD file was supposed to be closed as a key condition for reaching the accord and lifting anti-Iran sanctions -- based on extensive inspections of Iran’s nuclear facilities and activities by the IAEA over the past two decades.
“We, in turn, accepted limitations on our nuclear activities and thereby yielded on our certain rights as well as accepted inspections on the condition that previous accusations would be permanently revoked and that we would be able to continue our activities under strict inspection and trust-building engagements,” the official added.
Eslami said Iran continues to operate under the IAEA regulations, while defending the removal of surveillance cameras functioning beyond the safeguards agreement, in reaction to the anti-Iran vote at the UN agency’s board of governors meeting recently.
Last week, Eslami slammed the IAEA for politicizing Iran’s peaceful nuclear program under Israeli pressure while disregarding Tehran's extensive cooperation with the UN agency after the adoption of a resolution against Iran -- drafted by the US and its European allies.
Eslami justified Tehran’s refusal to provide the IAEA with films of JCPOA’s monitoring cameras, stressing that the accord between Iran and the 5+1 countries will only exist as long as both sides remain committed to it.
“Today they want to return to JCPOA, but then raise the same old reasons for starting the nuclear talks. So we, in turn, did not grant them access to the film of the JCOPA cameras,” he stressed.
“Psychological operations, media campaigns and political pressures and controversies against Iran have never produced results in the past and will now remain ineffective as well because the PMD file was closed in the past, and reopening it will in no way help them,” he added.
He said Iran was in possession of “less than three percent of the world’s nuclear reserves” but still “more than 25 percent of [IAEA] inspections” were carried out in Iran, while the regimes that have waged wars against Iran have never allowed inspections of their nuclear facilities.
Iran’s foreign minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, in his remarks on Thursday, also blamed the US for IAEA’s recent anti-Tehran resolution, insisting that the move was aimed at mounting pressure on Tehran to give concessions in Vienna talks.
Iran's top diplomat made the remarks in a Thursday phone call with his Iraqi counterpart, Fuad Hussein, during which the two sides also discussed bilateral issues and regional developments.
Negotiations have been underway in the Austrian capital since April last year to restore the 2015 Iran deal, which the former US President Donald Trump unilaterally abandoned in May 2018.
After quitting the deal, Trump introduced what he called the “maximum pressure” campaign to bring Iran to its knees, a policy that has failed miserably. The Joe Biden administration, despite its initial pledge to reverse Trump’s hard-nosed measures, has failed to deliver.
Iran has cited Washington’s indecisiveness as the reason behind the stalemate in talks, as many key issues remain unresolved, ranging from the removal of all post-JCPOA sanctions to the provision of guarantees by the American side that it will not leave the deal again.
AEOI spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi on Wednesday advised IAEA director general Rafael Grossi to refrain from “complicating the situation” by making political statements after the UN agency called on Iran to resume talks before things get "much more problematic."
“I amicably advise Rafael Grossi, the director-general of the [International Atomic Energy] Agency, to distance himself from making unprofessional statements of political color intended for media consumption,” Kamalvandi said.
“It is clear that if there is a technical issue, it should be presented professionally within the framework of the Agency's duties and followed through its channels and the usual mechanisms of the Agency. Obviously, the arena for such interactions is not the media.”
Kamalvandi was referring to Grossi’s interview broadcast on June 12 on CNN, in which he made unusually menacing tropes against Iran.
Grossi sparked a controversy after he traveled to Israel and met the regime's leaders late last month, just before the IAEA board of governors meeting.
The IAEA’s annual report, experts believe, was based on documents supplied by Israel about Iran's nuclear program, which Tehran has rejected as fabricated.