0959 GMT April 21, 2021
Envoy to UN: Iran not seeking escalation of tensions with US
The head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) said Tehran will give a proper response to any anti-Iran resolution adopted by the IAEA Board of Governors regarding the recent JCPOA developments.
“In case the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency adopts an anti-Iran resolution due to the suspension of the [NPT] Additional Protocol, we will give a proper response,” Ali Akbar Salehi said on Sunday.
Referring to a recent joint statement between AEOI and the IAEA on Iran’s voluntary suspension of the Additional Protocol to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Safeguards Treaty, Salehi said, "The appendix to this statement is confidential.”
“No specific conditions have been made in this regard, and according to the detailed information about the list of facilities and surveillance cameras mentioned in this appendix and also due to security considerations and the need to hide the location of key facilities in Iran, this appendix will remain confidential,” he added, Mehr News Agency reported.
The IAEA Board of Governors will convene its regular March meeting virtually on monday. It will discuss a range of issues, including the verification and monitoring in the Islamic Republic of Iran in light of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231 and NPT Safeguards Agreement with the country, according to the UN nuclear watchdog’s website.
On February 23, Iran stopped the voluntary implementation of the Additional Protocol. The halt came under the Strategic Action Plan to Counter Sanctions, a law passed last December by the Iranian Parliament, and added to Iran’s previous steps away from the 2015 nuclear deal in response to Washington’s unilateral withdrawal in 2018 and the other parties’ failure to fulfill their commitments.
In this regard, the IAEA and the AEOI reached a temporary bilateral technical understanding, under which the latter would continue to use cameras to record information at its nuclear sites for three months, but it would retain the information exclusively. If the US sanctions are lifted completely within that period, Iran will provide the footage information to the UN nuclear watchdog, otherwise, it will be deleted forever.
On February 26, Salehi warned that recordings from monitoring equipment that the IAEA installed at the country’s nuclear sites will be deleted if the United States does not lift its unilateral sanctions within the next three months.
“Now, the IAEA does not have the right to access surveillance cameras for up to three months, and if the sanctions are not lifted, the information recorded by the cameras will be deleted and cameras will be uninstalled. The agency issues a report every three months, so we gave it a chance,” he said on Friday.
Russia's Permanent Representative to the International Organizations in Vienna Mikhail Ulyanov, in his Twitter account, on Sunday urged the Board of Governors to exercise responsible approach.
“#IAEA BoG session will start tomorrow. It can predetermine further developments around the Iranian nuclear programme, as well as prospects of full restoration of #JCPOA. All Governors need to to keep this in mind and exercise responsible approach.”
Iran not seeking escalation of tensions
Iran’s ambassador to the United Nations said his country is not interested in escalation of tensions with the United States, and unlike Washington, Tehran has no interest in making provocative moves.
Majid Takht-Ravanchi said Iran has proved that it is not interested in escalation of tension, even during the tenure of the Trump administration that started the tension and provocative moves, Press TV reported.
The Iranian envoy made the remarks in response to Al Jazeera’s question about possible escalation of tensions as a result of Tehran’s moves to scale down its commitments under the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, officially known as the JCPOA.
He said the moves made by Iran in reaction to the failure of other JCPOA parties in living up to their commitments cannot result in escalation of tensions.
“When the Trump administration decided to leave the JCPOA, the remaining parties to the JCPOA asked us not to adopt a stance similar to that of Trump. They said they will compensate for the damages caused by the Trump administration’s withdrawal from the deal. We waited for a year, but we didn’t get anything from their promises, and it was just an empty promise,” he said.
Therefore, the envoy added, Iran had no other choice if it wanted to create a balance in the nuclear deal, and thus started to take certain measures in that regard.
“Recently, when our Parliament witnessed that the other parties to the JCPOA are not serious about making up for our damages, and that the E3 is not willing to fulfill its commitments, it decided to … pass a law that obliges the administration to take measures like increasing uranium enrichment.”
“What we did was based on the Paragraph 36 of the nuclear deal, and was in line with our commitments based on the text and spirit of the JCPOA,” he added.
“It wasn’t Iran that sent arms to a region far from its territory; it was rather the US that sent arms and warships to our region, which is 7,000 miles away from America,” he said.
“All these provocative moves, including the assassination of our dear General Martyr Soleimani which was a very provocative terrorist attack, were made by the US. Iran hasn’t had and still doesn’t have any interest in making provocative moves,” Takht-Ravanchi said.
No need for Qatar mediation
When asked about Qatar’s bid to mediate between Tehran and Washington, Takht-Ravanchi said the US return to the JCPOA needs no mediator.
“We have good relations with our Qatari brothers. Qatar is a totally friendly country, but we believe the US must return to its commitments in full, and that’s what needs to be done. Therefore, it needs no mediator.”
Takht-Ravanchi said the US implementation of its commitments does not even need any negotiation.
“It is up to the US to decide whether it wants to fulfill its commitments or not. The implementation of their commitments does not need any negotiation. The US needs to make the necessary decisions,” he added.
He said the US administration is well aware the sooner it returns to its JCPOA commitments, the better.
“The best way is that the US returns to its commitments, and then Iran will do the same. In that way, talks can be held on the JCPOA-related issues within the P5+1 platform. This is an easy and diplomatic way, and I think this solution can be easily achieved,” he added.
The former US administration unilaterally abandoned the nuclear deal, formally called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in May 2018, and unleashed what his team called a “maximum pressure campaign” with the stated objective of forcing Iran to negotiate “a better agreement.”
The Islamic Republic refused to bow down to pressure and threats and responded to Trump’s maximum pressure policy with “maximum resistance.”
US President Joe Biden has expressed a willingness to bring the US back to the nuclear accord. However, his administration is demanding to see changes from Tehran before Washington would consider lifting the sanctions, as demanded by Iran.
The Islamic Republic insists that as the party that has abandoned its international obligations, the US should take the first step by removing the unlawful bans in a verifiable manner.
Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei has asserted that Iran would only return to its commitments in the nuclear deal once the illegal sanctions are removed.