0236 GMT January 24, 2021
Iranian lawmakers issued a statement demanding that the country respond to the recent assassination of a senior nuclear scientist near capital Tehran by restricting the United Nations' regulatory mandate regarding Iran’s nuclear program.
Members of the Parliament offered the proposal in a statement that was read out at the legislature on Sunday, according to Press TV.
“Such atrocity entails an immediate and regret-inducing response,” they said, stressing that the best means of retaliation is through “the revival of the country’s brilliant nuclear industry by ending its voluntary adherence to the Additional Protocol” and restricting the UN nuclear watchdog's unprecedented inspection regime.
Iran undertook to adhere to the Additional Protocol of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) as part of its 2015 nuclear agreement with world powers. Under the protocol, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the UN nuclear watchdog, is allowed to carry out “more intrusive” inspections of the country’s nuclear work.
Iran’s nuclear activities and the deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), have frequently been the target of sabotage by the United States and the Israeli regime.
The US left the JCPOA in 2018, and its allies in the accord – the UK, France, and Germany – subsequently failed to secure Iran’s interests guaranteed by the deal, under Washington’s pressure.
Two of the most recent acts of sabotage – where the Islamic Republic strongly suspects Israel to have acted with US intelligence – include a July incident at the central Natanz nuclear site that caused material damage to the facility and the Friday assassination of nuclear expert Mohsen Fakhrizadeh.
Fakhrizadeh, the head the Defense Ministry’s Organization of Defensive Innovation and Research, was targeted in a multi-pronged terrorist attack by a number of assailants in Absard city of Tehran Province’s Damavand County.
Parliament Speaker Mohammad-Baqer Qalibaf on Sunday urged a “strong response” to the assassination, saying the country’s enemies would not be made to regret their atrocity in any other way.
A response, he said, has to both avenge the assassination and deter the enemies from repeating such atrocities in the future.
The assassination showed that the adversaries have been frustrated by Iran’s rising power and therefore have resorted to eliminating its scientists, he added.
The senior parliamentarian, however, expressed certainty that Iran would be able to weather the loss as it has in countless other cases since the 1979 victory of the Islamic Revolution and “pursue the path of its martyrs more strongly than before”.
Also on Sunday, the majority of lawmakers approved double urgency of a strategic motion, which aims to counteract unilateral sanctions imposed on the Islamic Republic by Western countries, topped by the United States.
The motion passed through the Parliament with 232 votes in favor.
Iranian lawmaker Mojtaba Zonnouri, who had called for the double urgency of the motion, said as verified by the IAEA, the Islamic Republic has fulfilled all its commitments as per the landmark nuclear agreement of 2015.
However, he added, the United States, as one of the signatories to the accord, lifted banking sanctions only on paper and continued to pose threats and impose sanctions on international banking system after it withdrew from the JCPOA in 2018.
He noted that lawmakers, the Parliament's experts and representatives from the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), the Foreign Ministry, the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), the Armed Forces and the Intelligence Ministry were present in the sessions to prepare the motion, which was approved in nine articles.
The majority of Iranian lawmakers had already given green light to the single-urgency of the motion on November 2, which obligates the AEOI to produce at least 120 kilograms of 20-percent enriched uranium annually and store it inside the country within two months after the adoption of the law.
US President Donald Trump unilaterally pulled Washington out of the JCPOA in May 2018, and unleashed the “toughest ever” sanctions against the Islamic Republic in defiance of global criticism.
Since the much-criticized exit, Washington has been attempting to prevent the remaining signatories – Britain, France, China and Russia plus Germany – from abiding by their commitments and thus kill the historic agreement, which is widely viewed as a fruit of international diplomacy.
Iran remained fully compliant with the JCPOA for an entire year, waiting for the co-signatories to fulfill their end of the bargain by offsetting the impacts of American bans on the Iranian economy.
But as the European parties failed to do so, the Islamic Republic moved in May 2019 to suspend its JCPOA commitments under Articles 26 and 36 of the deal that cover Tehran’s legal rights.