A senior Iranian lawmaker speaking about proposals to leave the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) has said such a move would provide “excuses to the West”.
Hardliner Iranian politicians have been suggesting that Tehran should withdraw from the NPT and even the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers known as the JCPOA as retaliation for being snubbed by the United Nations nuclear watchdog, the IAEA on June 8.
Jalil Rahimi Jahanabadi, a member of parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Committee told Etemad Online website on Sunday [June 19] that the IAEA resolution does not carry any legal and political risks for Iran.
The 35-nation IAEA Board of Governors passed the critical resolution after it determined that Iran has not cooperated in an investigation of its past nuclear activities.
So far, the government’s response to the IAEA was to disconnect many monitoring devices installed at its nuclear facilities by the UN watchdog, which in of itself was a significant move. But the noise about leaving the NPT has remained at the level of hardliner agitators and lawmakers.
One day before the vote on the resolution, a top hardliner in Iran, Hossein Shariatmadari, running the Kayhan Daily proposed leaving the NPT. He is Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s appointee at the flagship ultra-conservative newspaper, and many interpret his remarks as those endorsed by Khamenei’s office.
When the resolution passed on June 8, a large group of lawmakers also proposed to leave the NPT and stop cooperation with IAEA nuclear inspections and monitoring.
Later it was also revealed that former parliament speaker Ali Larijani and Supreme Council of national Security Secretary Ali Shamkhani lashed out at ultraconservative Saeed Jalili after he voiced support at the Expediency Council for the idea of Tehran exiting the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT).
But others among the Islamic Republic political elite warn that a drastic move against the NPT or the IAEA can send Iran’s nuclear file to the UN Security Council, which could lead to the restoration of international economic sanctions against the country. Those sanctions imposed in late 2000s and early 2010s carried the weight of the Security Council and were lifted only after Iran agreed to the 2015 nuclear deal, the JCPOA.
Jahanabadi, who appears to be one of the cautious politicians, tried to explain that the other lawmakers are making suggestions to the presidential administration, and it is not a process of forcing the executive to take steps on the issue of the NPT. He said that lawmakers are thinking to end voluntary cooperation with IAEA in the framework of the Additional Protocol and not within the NPT.
“Exiting the NPT for a country that has no intention to produce nuclear weapons, is not sensible,” he said. “Iran is not after inviting international challenges, and we should be aware that exiting the NPT will not solve any of our problems. Instead, it will provide an excuse for Westerners,” Jahanabadi added.”
He went on to say that Iran has no reason to go “from bad to worse”. If the IAEA shows no flexibility “exiting the NPT becomes an option, but we should not rush into these kinds of options now.”