No Need for Concern Over New IAEA Chief
EghtesadOnline: As long as Iran honors its commitments to the International Atomic Energy Agency, there is absolutely no reason for concern about the appointment of a new director general whose views on cooperation with Iran are not yet clear, a political analyst said.
"On the contrary, Iran can foster good cooperation with the new director general," Hassan Beheshtipour was quoted as saying by IRNA.
On Tuesday, the IAEA's 35-nation Board of Governors picked Rafael Grossi, a 58-year-old Argentinean diplomat, to become the agency's next chief, succeeding Yukiya Amano, who died in office in July, according to Financial Tribune.
He has signaled a stricter line on Tehran, pledging before his election to strictly monitor Iran's nuclear activities and stick to the agency's mandate of policing Tehran's compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal, formally called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
"This is an inspecting and auditing type of exercise that does not lend itself to opinion. We are there to ascertain, to check, monitor and verify, and tell it as it is, and I am extremely confident in that role," he said.
The United Nations' nuclear watchdog had consistently found Iran to be fulfilling its pledges under the accord, but Tehran began to gradually reduce its compliance in May, in response to the "maximum pressure" that the United States imposed after its unilateral exit from the deal in 2018.
The move was aimed at inducing the remaining signatories to take effective action to offset the effects of American sanctions, which they have failed to do so far.
Although Iran's nuclear steps exceed limits set in JCPOA, they are still within the framework of IAEA's regulations. Tehran has also promised to halt the plan and reverse the moves, as soon as its economic woes are addressed.
Grossi had told Financial Times that Iran's nuclear steps may not threaten an imminent crisis, but was "a serious matter" that must be handled "extremely prudently" to avoid further escalation.
No Room for Nitpicking
The new director general also enjoys tacit backing from the US, adding to concerns over the agency's potential adoption of hostile policies toward Iran.
Beheshtipour said it could have been favorable for Iran if Grossi's rival, IAEA's acting director general, Cornel Feruta of Romania, had been elected because he was an atomic expert who did not engage in political games within the agency.
"Although Mr Grossi assumed a hard-line stance toward Iran during the three years … that he served as Yukiya Amano's political deputy, I think Iran should welcome his appointment because, with its measures toward transparency within the framework of JCPOA, Iran has left no room for others' nitpicking," Beheshtipour said.
Iran has officially and clearly informed IAEA about the details of each nuclear step prior to its implementation. The agency has also confirmed that the measures taken corresponded to Tehran's stated intentions.
Iran has expressed hope that the UN watchdog under the new chief would act "in the most impartial and professional manner".
After his election, Grossi also pledged to act independently and neutrally on all issues, including Iran’s civilian nuclear program.
"I will do my job and I think my job is to implement the mandate in a manner which is independent, which is fair, which is neutral," he said.