VIENNA/ TEHRAN -- Western powers on Monday scrapped plans for a resolution criticizing Iran at the UN atomic agency even though it said Iran made no “promise” on a key issue after its head Rafael Grossi visited Tehran.
The decision by the United States, France, Britain and Germany not to push for a resolution at this week’s meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s 35-nation Board of Governors avoids an escalation with Iran that could have killed hopes of resuming wider talks on reviving the Iran nuclear deal, Reuters said.
During a last-minute visit to Tehran this weekend by IAEA chief Rafael Grossi, Iran agreed to grant his agency access to its equipment that monitors some sensitive areas of its nuclear program. Inspectors will swap out memory cards more than two weeks after they were due to be replaced.
Grossi said on Sunday that the agreement solved “the most urgent issue” between the IAEA and Iran. He made clear on Monday, however, that on another issue - uranium traces found at several old but undeclared sites - he had obtained no firm commitments.
“I did not receive any promise,” Grossi told a news conference when asked about the alleged uranium traces.
“What I said there ... is that I need to have a clear conversation with the new government about this.”
A joint statement by the IAEA and Iran on Sunday said Grossi would meet Iran’s nuclear chief Muhammad Eslami in Vienna next week and then Grossi would “visit Tehran in the near future to hold high level consultations with the (Iranian) government”.
Grossi declined to say more specifically whom he would meet in Tehran or when.
“Iran played its cards well,” one Vienna-based diplomat said of the weekend agreement. “The promise to continue high-level discussions on the outstanding issues managed to deflate the pressure for a resolution, even if what Grossi brought back from Tehran was pitifully little.”
Ahead of Grossi’s visit to Tehran, Western news outlets had dangled the possibility of a new resolution being issued against Iran at the meeting.
Eslami, the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), said Monday the IAEA has failed to fulfill its duties toward Iran by withholding technical assistance that it is bound by its statute to provide for member states.
“We are faced with the Devil and arrogance in the world,” he said remarks in the central city of Isfahan, home to Iran’s uranium enrichment facilities.
“The statute of the International Atomic Energy Agency has stipulated that one of the main duties of the Agency is to assist all countries and facilitate their peaceful use of the nuclear industry.
“However, such issues are totally reverse when it comes to our country and this Agency does not help us,” Eslami said.
He said the AEOI intends to put a cap on the hue and cry that surrounds Iran’s nuclear program and replace it with calm, progress and development, so that “our people and country would see its results” because advances in this regard would help promote our national power.
Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh also slammed Western countries for following double standards in dealing with the occupying regime of Israel's non-peaceful nuclear program, saying it has turned the Zionist regime into a major base for state terrorism.
“Unfortunately, the West follows a double and very shameful standard. It not only refrains from putting pressure on this regime to join [the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty] and disarm, but also provides this illegitimate regime with everything at its disposal to violate the international system and pose a permanent threat to the region and the world,” the spokesman said.
“As an illegitimate entity, which has turned into a base for state-sponsored terrorism, the Zionist regime has created very dangerous conditions for the region and the entire world,” Khatibzadeh added.
The rogue Zionist regime, which does not abide by international law, sits on top of hundreds of nuclear warheads and pursues an active military nuclear program, he said.
"The regime persistently refuses to join the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and any other international regulatory regime in this area, has rejected the Safeguards Agreement, and is known and disgraced as a rogue regime in the international system and with regard to the nuclear nonproliferation regime."
It is only natural that Iran and its allied countries and Muslim states would pursue a Middle East region free of nuclear weapons, Khatibzadeh said
The regime, which has refused to allow inspections of its nuclear facilities or sign the NPT, pursues a policy of deliberate ambiguity about its nuclear weapons and is estimated to have 200 to 400 nuclear warheads in its arsenal.
Khatibzadeh’s remarks came after the occupying regime’s war minister Benny Gantz called on the signatories of the Iran nuclear deal to impose sanctions against the Islamic Republic.
“Iran does not respect the agreements it has signed, and there’s no reason to believe it will respect any agreements it will sign in the future. The time has come for action,” he said.
Last week, Zionist foreign minister Yair Lapid baselessly spokes of “Iran’s march towards a nuclear weapon”.
“The world needs to stop Iran from getting a nuclear capability, no matter the price. If the world doesn’t do it, Israel reserves the right to act,” Lapid said, threatening Iran with war.
Khatibzadeh reacted to the threat, saying the Islamic Republic has a right to respond to any act of aggression.
“Outlaw Israeli regime—sitting on illicit nukes and refusing to join NPT—again threatens NPT member Iran; a nation with the world's most inspected nuclear program,” Khatibzadeh tweeted.