Iran has rejected a report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) regarding the reduced access of UN agency inspectors to Iranian nuclear facilities, stressing that relations between them are determined by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
The director of the Iranian Atomic Energy Organization, Mohammad Eslami, told reporters on the sidelines of the government meeting that the relations between Tehran and the IAEA are “existing and continuous,” and were based on the agreement signed by the two parties last March.
The Iranian official added that the relationship between Iran and the IAEA is based on the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and the Safeguards Agreement, and added: “The monitoring operations are continuing without any defect, and they have not been interrupted.”
An Islamist was commenting on a report published by “Bloomberg” agency earlier this week, about the decrease in the monitoring operations conducted by the IAEA in Iranian facilities by 10 percent, after Tehran removed the surveillance cameras in June last year, in response to its condemnation before IAEA Board of Governors.
The Iranian decision to close the surveillance cameras came, after Tehran abandoned the additional protocol to the Non-Proliferation Treaty, in February 2021. Since then, Tehran has refused to hand over the IAEA, surveillance camera recordings at its nuclear facilities.
Iran began the path of reducing nuclear deal commitments and gradually restricting inspections in response to the US withdrawal from the nuclear deal and the re-imposition of sanctions five years ago.
The agency’s director, Rafael Grossi, said in a letter to member states that inspections were “severely affected by Iran’s decision.”
Subsequently, Grossi ruled out, in a press interview, that Iran and the United States had reached an agreement to revive the nuclear agreement in the coming months.
Grossi said, “It is in the interest of all parties to pursue the path of constructive cooperation with Iran, but the possibility of reviving the nuclear agreement in the near future is very weak.”
However, Islami said, “The IAEA is not responsible for the negotiations or a party to them. Rather, the negotiations are the responsibility of the P5+1 group,” referring to the five permanent members of the Security Council and Germany.
In response to a question about whether the arms embargo, especially with regard to restrictions on the Iranian missile program against Iran, will be lifted in October 2023, Islamic said: “Yes, according to what was stated in the nuclear agreement, the arms embargo must be lifted.”
Nuclear negotiations between Iran and Washington stalled in March last year, and in September the latest attempt by European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell to revive the nuclear deal failed.
For his part, a member of the National Security and Foreign Policy Committee in the Iranian Parliament, Shahriar Heidari, told the government-run Mehr news agency that “it is possible to resume nuclear negotiations, given the group of European and American messages that we received.”
Haidari explained, “America is seeking to obtain the most privileges from the nuclear agreement, and for the agreement to be revived, but at our expense.” The deputy added, “They should know that our position is clear and our strategy is consistent in the nuclear agreement, and the completion of the agreement and the lifting of all sanctions are of great importance to us.”
On the other hand, the Iranian MP referred to the US National Security Adviser, Jake Sullivan’s hint of giving Israel the green light to launch a military strike on Iran. In this regard, he said: “Western threats to launch a war against Iran aim at psychological warfare. For 44 years, American officials, some Western governments, and the Zionist entity have used psychological warfare against us.
Speculation has increased in the past few days, after an official from the US State Department briefed members of Congress on negotiations with Iran. Politico newspaper quoted a Democratic aide in the Senate as saying that “progress has been made in the nuclear talks with Iran.”
But the US State Department spokesman, Vedant Patel, refused to confirm or deny when asked about the aide’s statements. Regarding rumors about the possibility of a return to negotiations, Patel told reporters: “I don’t have anything to announce this time.”
“President Biden and our Secretary of State Blinken are fully committed to never allowing Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon,” Patel said. He added, “Diplomacy is the best way forward to establish a verifiable way and a permanent guarantee that Iran will not obtain a nuclear weapon.”
Patel referred to the US administration’s change of approach after accusing Iran of sending marches that Russia used in the war on Ukraine, as well as suppressing the protests that erupted in Iran, since September, after the killing of the Kurdish young woman, Mahsa Amini.
The top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Jim Risch, protested the Biden administration’s approach to Iran. “It has been more than six months since President Biden announced that the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action is dead, and we are still no closer to a more comprehensive policy toward Iran,” he wrote in a statement.
“The strategic ambiguity about Iranian politics only serves to strengthen the regime and push our partners closer to China,” Risch added. He added, “As Iran continues to illegally seize ships, target Americans in the region, support its terrorist proxies, and Russia invade Ukraine; Americans deserve a policy that is more than failed nuclear negotiations.