1001 GMT April 21, 2021
“Any unconstructive move or stance at the [International Atomic Energy Agency’s] Board of Governors can lead to new challenges and complicate the existing situation,” Rouhani said in a phone call with French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday, Press TV reported.
The IAEA’s 35-nation Board of Governors is holding a quarterly meeting this week against the backdrop of efforts to preserve the multilateral nuclear agreement — officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) — that former US president, Donald Trump, abandoned.
The three European parties to the JCPOA — Britain, France and Germany — have reportedly circulated a US-backed draft resolution for the upcoming meeting voicing “serious concern” at Iran’s reduced cooperation and urging Iran to reverse the steps it has taken away from the deal in response to the US withdrawal and the reimposition of the sanctions that the accord had lifted.
Iran has warned against the adoption of the anti-Iran resolution, with Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif saying that the Islamic Republic has some options to take in case “reason does not prevail” on the other side.
Rouhani said Iran first decided to gradually scale back its JCPOA commitments due to the US withdrawal and the three European parties’ failure to fulfill their obligations as per the deal.
He, however, emphasized that Iran’s remedial measures will be immediately reversed if the opposite sides comply with their obligations.
Although Iran stopped implementing the Additional Protocol to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) as required by a law adopted last December, “Our cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency still continues and we have never exited the JCPOA,” the Iranian president stated.
As the US refrained from lifting sanctions before the February 21 deadline set by Tehran, Iran announced that the country stopped the voluntary implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement that allowed the IAEA to carry out short-notice inspections of the country’s nuclear facilities.
The halt came under the Strategic Action Plan to Counter Sanctions, a law passed last December by the Iranian Parliament requiring the administration to tighten its retaliatory measures.
On the day of the deadline, however, Tehran and the IAEA reached “a temporary bilateral technical understanding”, as part of which the UN nuclear watchdog would continue its “necessary verification and monitoring activities for a period of up to three months”.
The Atomic Energy Organization of Iran said the Islamic Republic had agreed to keep recording information on its inspection equipment for three months without granting the IAEA access.
Elsewhere in his remarks, Rouhani described France as an “important player” and said “Tehran-Paris relations can be developed based on a sustainable viewpoint and with long-term goals for common bilateral, regional and international cooperation.”
He stressed the need for collective cooperation among all countries across the globe to battle the coronavirus pandemic and said the US “cruel and illegal” sanctions on Iran have impeded the country’s fight against COVID-19 and caused obstacles in the way of Tehran’s access to its own financial resources in order to purchase medicine and medical equipment.
“The European Union, particularly France, is expected not to remain silent vis-à-vis this inhumane move,” the Iranian president added.
The French president said preservation of the JCPOA is a necessity for the international community and called for the continuation of negotiations about all sides’ full return to compliance with the deal.
Macron added that Europe is ready to play a more active role within the next weeks to maintain the JCPOA.
‘Unconstructive and unfriendly’
In addition, the Iranian president’s chief of staff, Mahmoud Vaezi, slammed as unconstructive and unfriendly a draft resolution that the IAEA Board of Governors is going to pass on Iran, warning of its negative consequences, Tasnim News Agency reported.
In an address to reporters on the sidelines of a cabinet meeting on Wednesday, he said Iran considers the resolution being prepared by the UN nuclear agency’s Board of Governors as an “unconstructive and unfriendly stance”.
He also warned that such an anti-Iranian resolution will have negative effects on the negotiations about the JCPOA and Iran’s view about the IAEA.
Vaezi also noted that many revisions have been made to the resolution in recent days as some of its articles have been omitted to soften it.
Moreover, Russian Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the International Organizations in Vienna Mikhail Ulyanov in a Twitter message advised the IAEA Board of Governors not to adopt a resolution which can undermine the JCPOA prospect, according to IRNA.
"When I say ‘a highly risky political experiment’ I mean an adoption of a stupid resolution which can undermine the prospects for a restoration of #JCPOA exactly at the moment when this task becomes very much feasible,” Ulyanov’s message read.
"#IAEA Governors at their on-going session face a great challenge. They really can contribute to strengthening the global non-proliferation regime and restoration of #JCPOA. They also can decide not to oppose highly risky political experiments. The Governors have to make a choice," he said in a separate message.
Earlier, the spokesman of Iranian government Ali Rabiei said the country’s agreement with the IAEA is a clear message of Tehran's good faith to give a chance to diplomacy.
Referring to the agreement with the IAEA, he said that the government will respect the law passed by the Parliament and also give assurance to the international community that Iran’s nuclear activities will be under international legal inspections and stay peaceful.