News ID: 94171
Publish Date : 08 September 2021 - 21:31

TEHRAN – Iran has
responded to a critical report by the United Nations’ nuclear agency, signaling a difficult path ahead as countries continue to try to restore the country’s 2015 nuclear deal.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said in two confidential reports on Tuesday that Iran has continued to increase production of high-enriched uranium.
It said the agency was “deeply concerned” about the issue of the presence of nuclear materials at several undeclared locations, something it says Iran has yet to adequately explain.
The circulation of the report prompted Iran’s IAEA envoy, Kazem Gharibabadi, to say no one can tell Iran to stop its nuclear activities, which he said are in line with its non-proliferation commitments, as long as unilateral United States sanctions remain in place.
The U.S. withdrew from Iran’s nuclear deal in 2018, imposing harsh sanctions that continue being enforced by President Joe Biden as all signatories, including China, Russia and European powers, try to restore the accord.
Iran is now enriching uranium to 60 percent in response to the sanctions, in addition to attacks on its nuclear sites and the assassination of one of its top nuclear scientists. The agency said Iran’s stockpile of 60 percent enriched uranium has now reached 10 kilograms.
On Tuesday, Gharibabadi said a temporary three-month agreement struck in late February to prevent partial restriction of IAEA monitoring activities – which was previously extended for another month – has expired and Iran is under no obligation to further extend it.
On the issue of nuclear particles being discovered at undeclared sites, the Iranian envoy said the issue dates back to about two decades ago, and Iran has offered sufficient cooperation.
“The agency must maintain its independence and professionalism and agency members must seriously refrain from trying to use it to achieve their political goals,” Gharibabadi said, pointing out that Iran accounts for more than one-fifth of all IAEA monitoring while the agency conducts no inspections into Zionist atomic activities.
Tuesday’s report was the first quarterly IAEA report released during the presidency of Ebrahim Raisi.
Raisi and his foreign minister, Hussein Amirabdollahian, have said they are in favor of negotiations that will lead to the removal of sanctions, but denounce U.S. efforts to conduct talks under “pressure”.
Since April, six rounds of talks have been held in Vienna to restore the nuclear deal, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). While progress has been made, significant issues remain unsolved and the talks were paused in late July to allow Raisi to form his administration.
No date has been set for a return to Vienna, but the IAEA’s next conference on September 21 could prove significant.
The U.S., backed by European powers, may once more consider pushing for a censure against Iran, something Iran has warned could make achieving an agreement on the nuclear deal significantly more complicated.

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