EghtesadOnline: Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency face no problem as long as the global body acts impartially, independently and away from political pressure from third parties, an Iranian senior diplomat said.
Saeed Khatibzadeh, the new Foreign Ministry spokesman, made the statement during his first press conference on Monday, ahead of IAEA chief’s visit to Tehran, IRNA reported.
Rafael Grossi was set to arrive in Tehran on Monday evening and meet top Iranian officials, including President Hassan Rouhani, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and the head of Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, Ali Akbar Salehi, over a two-day stay.
This would be his first trip to Iran since taking office in December 2019. He was expected to visit earlier but was delayed due to the spread of the coronavirus disease, according to Khatibzadeh.
“The purpose of this trip, like that of former chiefs, is to improve and consolidate mutual cooperation,” he said.
Iran’s relations with the UN agency had experienced ups and downs, according to Khatibzadeh, but the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers brought ties to a powerful climax, resulting in IAEA’s largest number of inspections in Iranian history.
“We are certain that if impartiality is upheld and technical issues are taken into account away from political considerations, the talks will help resolve the recent issues between Iran and the agency,” he said.
The IAEA Board of Governors issued a resolution in mid-June, urging Iran to allow access to two sites it suspects of nuclear activity. Iran has denied access to the sites, arguing that the request is based on inadmissible data provided by Israeli secret intelligence services.
The resolution was put forward by France, Germany and Britain and adopted by the 35-nation board in mid-June.
Need for IAEA Assurance
Kazam Gharibabadi, Iran’s representative to IAEA, said Tehran’s trust in the agency has been tarnished and needs to be restored during the director general’s visit.
“It is important that Tehran is assured the agency will move on based on the three principles of impartiality, independence and professionalism, and will not act beyond its standards and its own independent evaluations and data regarding safeguards issues,” he was quoted as saying by ISNA.
Gharibabadi stressed that it is only on this condition that differences would be addressed and cooperation could continue.
“We will not allow others to manage Iran’s relations with the agency, especially under the current sensitive circumstances,” he said.
Zarif also said on the sidelines of a Foreign Ministry event on Monday that Iran observes absolute transparency in its cooperation with the agency.
“We were not and will not be seeking a nuclear weapon, as we consider it detrimental to our interests both in ideological and strategic terms,” he said.
He noted that Iran will not allow the United States and the Israeli regime, who possess nuclear weapons themselves and keep disrupting regional peace and security, make IAEA’s goals an object of ridicule.
“We had long discussion with the agency and the trip is along the same line,” he added.
The foreign minister also stressed that the visit is not in connection with the so-called “snapback” process of the nuclear deal, which has recently been triggered by the US.
Washington quit the deal in 2018 and initiated what it referred to as a maximum pressure campaign to force Iranian leaders to renegotiate a new deal.
It triggered the return of all UN sanctions on Iran on Friday under a mechanism foreseen in the deal, despite having already exited the agreement.