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Intl. community must slam US’ ‘destructive’ behavior, economic terrorism: Iran

Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) says the international community must unanimously condemn the United States’ destructive behavior and economic terrorism against other countries.

Ali Akbar Salehi made the remarks while addressing the Sixty-Third Regular Session of International Atomic Energy Agency General Conference in Vienna on Monday.

“At this critical point in time for multilateralism, this session of the General Conference is a unique opportunity to explore the challenges and locate our own places in addressing them,” Iran’s nuclear chief said.

Salehi expressed regret that despite “such an unprecedented record of verification and transparency in the history of the IAEA, and the principled position of Iran on nuclear weapons, the nuclear deal has been called by the US administration, the worst of the deals in the history of that country.”

He noted that the US itself has developed all categories of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs), including nuclear weapons, and even used it against others, adding that in its Nuclear Posture Review — the key official statement of US nuclear policy — Washington also threatens specific countries with the use of such weapons.

“To bring back order to the current chaotic situation, which multilateralism is facing … the destructive behavior of the US administration and the economic terrorism pursued by it against other countries should be condemned and rejected by the entire international community,” Salehi said.

Iran has always emphasized that it is neither legitimate under religious principles nor envisaged in the country’s defense doctrine to acquire, produce, stockpile and eventually use weapons of mass destruction, he added.

Back in September 2018, Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei lashed out at Western countries for adopting a double-standard policy toward the use of WMDs, reminding them of their support for slain Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein in his war on Iran in the 1980s.

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Despite the West’s current “ballyhoo over accusations of using chemical weapons, they provided the Saddam regime with chemical weapons used not only in the war fronts but also in cities like Sardasht [against civilians],” Ayatollah Khamenei stated.

In February, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani also renewed Tehran’s call for a Middle East free of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction.

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“Our slogan is a Middle East free of nuclear weapons and [other] weapons of mass destruction, and we have been standing firm in this regard for more than 40 years,” Rouhani said.

Elsewhere in his Monday remarks, Iran’s nuclear chief also denounced the United States for ditching the 2015 multilateral nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and violating United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231, which endorses the accord, while expanding its own nuclear weapons arsenal.

“Although the deal has been praised as an outstanding achievement of years of diplomatic efforts, respective states have failed to go beyond expressing regret for the violation of the UNSC Resolution 2231 by the US administration,” Salehi added.

He emphasized that the landmark deal’s outcome for Iran has now turned into “inhumane and illegal” sanctions against the country’s trade, economy and foreign investments in clear contradiction with the provisions of the JCPOA and Resolution 2231.

“Unfortunately, such sanctions have also affected areas such as food, medicine, radiopharmaceutical products, and even Iran’s Nuclear Regulatory Authority (INRA).”

Iran’s ambassador and permanent representative to the UN office in Geneva, Esmaeil Baqaei Hamaneh, on Friday lashed out at the US for imposing cruel sanctions against Iran, warning that the negative consequences of such measures turn it into a “crime against humanity.”

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He said the continuation of such an illegal approach by certain countries is a threat to international peace and security, and a challenge ahead of the world’s collective security system based on the UN charter.

The Iranian nuclear chief further noted that as a multilateral deal, the JCPOA encompasses rights and responsibilities for all parties, saying, “Therefore, implementation of this deal by only one party is not a legitimate expectation, nor a practical possibility.”

He added that Iran has shown “strategic patience” for more than one year after the unilateral US pullout from the JCPOA to “allow the remaining parties to the deal to fulfill their commitments, including compensation of the effects of this withdrawal.”

The AEOI chief hailed efforts made so far by several countries to save the JCPOA, but emphasized that Iran is still “far from realizing the basic objectives of the deal and meeting [its] legitimate demands.”

“Hence, there was no option for Iran other than resorting to the relevant provisions of the JCPOA to cease partially its commitments in order to provide a new window for diplomacy to preserve the deal,” he said.

However, Salehi emphasized that Iran’s partial cessation of its commitments is “reversible in case of full and effective implementation of the JCPOA by the remaining parties to the deal.”

Iran has so far rowed back on its nuclear commitments three times in compliance with articles 26 and 36 of the JCPOA. 

As a third and final step in its reduction of commitments, Iran said on September 7 it had activated 20 IR-4 and 20 IR-6 centrifuges for research and development purposes after the Europeans failed to work within a 60-day deadline to meet Iran’s demands and fulfill their commitments under the multilateral deal.

Iran says its retaliatory measures will be reversible as soon as Europe finds practical ways to shield the mutual trade from the US sanctions, which were re-imposed last year when President Donald Trump withdrew from the JCPOA.

In a meeting with the visiting acting head of the IAEA Cornel Feruta in Tehran on September 8, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the three steps taken by the Islamic Republic to reduce its commitments under the JCPOA are legitimate and allowed under the agreement.

Iran’s top diplomat said all measures taken so far “by the Islamic Republic of Iran to reduce its commitments in response to the European sides’ failure to fulfill theirs” conformed to Article 36 of the deal.

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