International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Rafael Grossi meets with Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Mohammad Eslami, in Tehran, Iran, March 3, 2023.

Iran Reacts Angrily To US And E3 Statement On IAEA Inspectors

Tuesday, 09/19/2023

Following Iran's move to bar IAEA inspectors from monitoring its nuclear activities, a hardliner close to the Supreme Leader has once again called for leaving the NPT.

Earlier on Monday, the US and E3 (The United Kingdom, France and Germany) issued a statement condemning Iran's move a few days after the IAEA announced that Iran has withdrawn the designation of several UN inspectors assigned to conduct verification activities in Iran under the Non-Proliferation Treaty Safeguards Agreement. 

According to conservative website Alef in Tehran, Hossein Shariatmadari, the editor of the Kayhan daily which is funded by Khamenei's office, wrote: "The United States has currently under no obligation about the JCPOA. At the same time, Europe has neither acknowledged nor fulfilled any one of its commitments under the nuclear deal. It is only Iran that has made so many concessions and brought its nuclear facilities on the brink of destruction despite enduring decades of economic and political pressure and is also expected to accept further commitments if it continues its presence in the JCPOA."

Hossein Shariatmadari, the editor of the Kayhan daily

Shariatmadari further claimed that "the Raisi administration has heroically resisted against powerful countries and the United States' arrogance and has even humiliated them at times." He referred to the recent comments by the Iranian foreign minister in which he said, "Iran will not leave any hostile act by the United States without a response."

He added that "Iran's presence in the NPT is detrimental to Iran and provides an opportunity to the enemies to blackmail Tehran and hinder its progress." He asked: "Why should Iran remain in the Non-Proliferation Treaty while the United States refuses to fulfil its commitments and China and Russia have no objections to Iran's withdrawal from the treaty?"

Shariatmadari's comments came hours after the US and three European allies condemned Iran’s move to bar IAEA inspectors, considering it another step in the wrong direction. IAEA Director Rafael Grossi characterized Tehran's move as non-constructive, adding that it was not a step in the right direction.

Grossi emphasized that the only way that Iran could dispel any doubts about its nuclear program is to allow the IAEA to inspect, noting that “If they allow us to work, then there will be confidence; otherwise, it will be very complicated.”

Meanwhile, Iranian analyst Ali Bigdeli warned that barring the IAEA inspectors would pave the way for the issuance of a UN Security Council resolution against Iran. He added that Iran's move will not lead to the revival of the JCPOA, as the next meeting of the agency is likely to issue a warning to Iran and send the case to the UN Security Council. 

Bigdeli noted that in the previous cases, Iran used to show some flexibility and offer concessions to the IAEA to prevent the issuance of a resolution. Last week, 24 countries that are members of the IAEA in a statement assessed Iran's cooperation with the agency as "insufficient." In response, the Iranian Foreign Ministry branded IAEA experts as "illiterate" and denied that Tehran had refused to cooperate with the UN nuclear watchdog.

Media expectations suggest that President Ebrahim Raisi is likely to face tough questions in New York during the UN General Assembly, as politicians and reporters will certainly ask him about this development and its timing, especially after some of Iran's frozen assets abroad have been released.

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