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World

Iran urges IAEA to take "unbiased" approach towards secretive Saudi, Israeli nuclear activities

  • Iran's Ambassador to the United Nations has expressed concerns about covert nuclear activities by Saudi Arabia and Israel, urging the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to adopt an "unbiased" approach towards both regimes.
Updated 12 Nov 2020
Iran’s Bushehr nuclear power plant, built by Russia. Source: Reuters.
Iran’s Bushehr nuclear power plant, built by Russia. Source: Reuters.

Iran's Ambassador to the United Nations has expressed concerns about covert nuclear activities by Saudi Arabia and Israel, urging the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to adopt an "unbiased" approach towards both regimes.

As reported by Iranian state-operated broadcasting outlet Press TV, Majid Takht-Ravanchi made the remarks at a virtual meeting of the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday, upon endorsing the IAEA's annual report.

The ambassador stated that "it is of the utmost importance" that the nuclear watchdog objectively considers the available information on Riyadh's secretive nuclear activities, adding that "if Saudi Arabia is seeking a peaceful nuclear program, it should act in a very transparent manner and allow the agency’s inspectors to verify its activities".

Furthermore, Takht-Ravanchi noted that the IAEA needs to take an "unbiased and professional approach" towards Israel, which has consistently refused to the agency's safeguards, is not a party to the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) and is widely alleged to possess nuclear weapons.

In an effort to elaborate upon the Iranian regime's continued cooperation with the nuclear watchdog, the ambassador stated that Iran alone accounts for 22 percent of all of the agency's inspections across the globe, even during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic; stressing that "Iran and the agency have agreed to work in good faith to resolve these safeguards-related questions".

Rafael Grossi, Director-General of the IAEA, visited Tehran in late August, where he held talks with Iranian officials, after which both sides issued a joint statement, in which they had collectively agreed "to further reinforce their cooperation and enhance mutual trust to facilitate” the full implementation of Iran's Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement (CSA) and the Additional Protocol (AP).

In essence, to help facilitate the agency's regulatory measures, Iran agreed to voluntarily provide access to IAEA inspectors to two specified locations. In his speech to the General Assembly on Wednesday, Grossi recognised Iran's progress on safeguards implementation issues, adding that “Evaluations regarding the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities for Iran continue".

The ambassador criticised the United States for unilaterally attempting to dismantle the JCPOA, despite the fact that it is an "important multilateral achievement that enjoys strong international support". Tehran has remained fully compliant with the JCPOA for an entire year, awaiting their multilateral cohort of co-signatories to alleviate the impact of Washington's crippling sanctions on the Iranian economy.