News ID: 266769
Published: 1142 GMT March 11, 2020

Iran: IAEA should not follow up on ‘empty claims’

Iran: IAEA should not follow up on ‘empty claims’

Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Seyyed Abbas Mousavi said the UN atomic watchdog should not follow up on any “empty claims” after the agency raised questions about the Islamic Republic's nuclear program.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) last week claimed that Iran has denied its inspectors access in January to two sites.

The IAEA "should maintain its credibility and not follow up on any empty claims made by someone or some regime," Mousavi said.

"Questions must be based on a legal and technical case and not some regimes' political games as Iran does not consider this right or constructive," he added.

IAEA chief Rafael Grossi on Monday urged Iran to provide access to the two sites.

Iran's representative Kazem Gharibabadi, said last week that Tehran had no obligation to grant the IAEA access to sites if it deems the requests to be based on "fabricated information", accusing the US and Israel of trying to "exert pressure on the agency."

Israel has claimed that its intelligence services have new information on the alleged past projects.

The back and forth comes with a landmark 2015 nuclear agreement between Iran and world powers hanging by a thread.

The accord – offering Tehran sanctions relief in exchange for limits on its nuclear activities – has faltered since the US withdrew from it in 2018 and began reimposing unilateral sanctions on Iran.

In retaliation Iran has progressively abandoned some of the limits set by the accord.

Other parties to the deal – Britain, China, France, Germany, and Russia – have expressed continued commitment to the deal.

But so far they have been unable to make up for the United States in providing Iran with the economic benefits set out in the accord.


US sanctions on medicine

The Foreign Ministry spokesman also during his Wednesday’s press conference pointed to the impact of the US sanctions on Iran’s imports of foodstuffs and medicine amid the coronavirus outbreak in the country.

He said Washington has blocked the entry of foodstuffs and medicine into Iran through its unlawful sanctions, but shamelessly denies doing so.

“The oppressive and illegal American sanctions, which [have been imposed on Iran] within the framework of the ‘maximum pressure’ campaign, have affected public welfare and health in Iran.”

“Although medicine and medical equipment should be exempt from the sanctions…the course of relevant transactions has been blocked,” he told reporters via video-link. “However, they brazenly claim that medicine and foodstuffs are not subject to the sanctions,” the official added.

The virus showed up first in the central Chinese city of Wuhan and has so far claimed more than 4,200 lives and infected above 113,000 others worldwide.

The epidemic has killed 354 people in Iran and infected 9,000 others.

Mousavi said if the US is really honest in offering sympathy to the Iranian nation, it should ease the sanctions and free up banks as well as monetary and financial institutions to carry out the transactions that would enable exports of food and medicine to Iran.


Iran’s concerns, measures

The Iranian official further expressed concerns about the health conditions of the Iranians being held in US prisons because of US president mismanagement of the coronavirus outbreak.

“The health conditions in US prisons are a source of concern,” he said, calling for their release and return to the country.

Elsewhere, the official said despite the adverse effect that the epidemic has had on international businesses, Iran has been seeking to soften the damage on its own economic activities and those of its neighboring states.

Iran has adopted all due sanitary precautions at its ports of entry and has been trying to assure its neighbors of the virus-free nature of its exports by issuing clean bills of health and other relevant guarantees for its exports and transit truckers.

Despite some initial restrictions that were applied following the outbreak, Iran’s borders are currently all open and all border points are being used toward economic interaction with various countries, Mousavi noted.

The official said that the ministry had formed a special taskforce aimed at enabling cooperation among Iran and regional countries against the outbreak.

AFP and Press TV contributed to this story.



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