Thursday, 24 September, 2020

Iran: New IAEA report confirms continued verification process, nuclear commitment cuts

Iran says a new report issued by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) shows the UN atomic watchdog’s continued verification of the country’s nuclear program and the suspension of commitments under a 2015 deal.

Kazem Gharibabadi, Iran’s permanent representative to Vienna-based international organizations, told reporters on Friday that since the very first day, when the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) took effect, the IAEA has kept up monitoring concerning Iran’s obligations under the accord.

“The IAEA’s new report on the JCPOA indicates the continuation of the agency’s verification activities and also depicts Iran’s measures towards implementing decisions to suspend its JCPOA commitments,” he said.

The report also affirms that the UN nuclear watchdog has continued to verify Iran’s non-deviation of nuclear materials as well as its temporary and voluntary implementation of the  Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), he added.

Iran signed the JCPOA with six world states — namely the US, Germany, France, Britain, Russia and China — in 2015. 

However, Washington’s unilateral withdrawal in May 2018 and subsequent re-imposition of sanctions against Tehran left the future of the historic agreement in limbo.

Iran remained fully compliant with the JCPOA for an entire year, waiting for the co-signatories to fulfill their end of the bargain by offsetting the impacts of American bans on the Iranian economy.

But as the European parties failed to do so, the Islamic Republic moved in May 2019 to suspend its JCPOA commitments under Articles 26 and 36 of the deal covering Tehran’s legal rights.

Iran took five steps in scaling back its obligations, among them abandoning operational limitations on its nuclear industry, including with regard to the capacity and level of uranium enrichment.

All those measures were adopted after informing the IAEA beforehand, with the agency’s inspectors present on the ground in Iran.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Gharibabadi said the IAEA report confirms that Iran has been continuing to enrich uranium to a purity of up to 4.5 percent, higher than the 3.67 percent set by the JCPOA. 

The report, he noted, further shows that Iran has been using new enrichment equipment in its research and development lines.

Iran has produced 1,571.6 kilograms of enriched uranium, with its stock of heavy water reaching 132.6 metric tonnes, he pointed out.

The UN Security Council endorsed the JCPOA under Resolution 2231, after which the 15-member body agreed to lift a UN embargo on the sales of conventional weapons to Iran on October 18, 2020.

Despite being not a party to the JCPOA any longer, Washington has recently launched a campaign to renew the Iran arms ban — in place since 2006/2007 — through a resolution at the UNSC, but Russia and China are most likely to veto it.  

US shares Iran arms embargo motion with some UNSC members

Additionally on Friday, US Ambassador to the UN Kelly Craft announced that Washington had shared a draft resolution on the extension of Iran’s arms embargo with Russia, Britain, France, Germany and Estonia which are all member states of the Security Council.

“Pretty soon we’ll be sharing (with) the full 15. But, you know, we are trying to really work very carefully, very thoroughly,” she told reporters.

Craft also urged Moscow and Beijing to join what she called “a global consensus on Iran’s conduct.”

“This is an absolute imperative that we exercise all of our options to make certain that this UN arms embargo is extended,” she added.

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