By Mostafa Shirmohammadi
Iran on Tuesday urged the head of the UN nuclear watchdog to not overstep his authority and maintain impartiality in the capacity of the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
“The IAEA director general should not overstep the bounds of his professional duties and should always keep neutrality in mind, given the oath he takes at the start of his career,” Behrouz Kamalvandi, the spokesman of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) told Iran Daily in an exclusive interview.
Kamalvandi was responding to a question about remarks by IAEA chief Rafael Grossi on Monday in which he demanded that Iran grant IAEA inspectors access to its nuclear sites so that the agency could “offer credible assurances” that its “sizable and growing nuclear program is exclusively for peaceful purposes”.
Grossi, without mentioning Iran, blamed the Islamic Republic for using its cooperation with the agency “as a bargaining chip”.
The spokesman said the IAEA should reduce its demands to its “defined relationship with Iran”.
“The current relations between Iran and the agency are defined on the basis of safeguards agreements. Therefore… the IAEA should not press any demands beyond safeguards,” Kamalvandi pointed out.
He advised the UN nuclear agency to “appreciate Iran's extensive and unparalleled cooperation,” saying the country’s atomic activities have been subject to the “most rigorous inspections even beyond safeguards agreements and the Additional Protocol”.
“While Iran has less than 3% of the world's nuclear facilities, about a quarter of the agency's inspections has been performed in Iran,” Kamalvandi said.
He recalled the violations that the United States committed when it unilaterally walked out of the 2015 nuclear deal (JCPOA) between Iran and world powers four years ago.
“One should bear in mind which country refused to fulfill its obligations under the JCPOA and abandoned it, and still continues to throw wrenches and presses ahead with its maximum pressure,” the spokesman said.
Kamalvandi urged the IAEA chief to beware of media campaigns launched by certain outlets against Iran’s nuclear program, saying the head of the UN nuclear agency “should be careful and should not be caught in their traps”.
He also blasted the agency’s “biased” approach by “giving special privileges” to Israel, which is not even a member of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and is “busy with expanding its nukes program”.
“Such an approach is somehow regarded as discrimination and sends a wrong signal to the international community,” Kamalvandi concluded.
Israeli is believed to have 200 to 400 nuclear warheads, making it the sole possessor of atomic weapons in the Middle East.