“At the Karaj nuclear facility, we don’t have nuclear material, and that’s why the site is not subject to the Safeguard Agreement. We produce centrifuges there. They say Iran is producing advanced centrifuges in the Karaj facility. Yes, we do not shy away from this fact,” Behrouz Kamalvandi said in an interview with Iran’s official TV on Thursday.
“Thank God, we are able to produce such centrifuges at a high capacity, and we do not get permission from anyone for this,” he said, explaining that Iran is entitled to producing advanced centrifuges without having to endure any limits under Article 4 of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
Kamalvandi also criticized the IAEA over its prejudiced approach toward Iran’s civilian nuclear program, saying the United Nations’ nuclear agency is under the influence of major world powers.
Kamalvandi made the remarks days after Rafael Grossi director general of the IAEA visited Tehran in the wake of November 29 Vienna talks aimed at removing US sanctions against the Islamic Republic.
Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said Tehran and the UN nuclear agency reached an agreement in principle to resolve their outstanding issues.
During the two-day visit, Grossi also said he sought common grounds to deepen mutual cooperation between the UN nuclear agency and Iran as he described the Tehran talks as “very constructive”.
Iran and six world powers – the US, Russia, China, France, Britain, and Germany – reached a nuclear agreement in 2015 to remove international sanctions against the Islamic Republic in exchange for certain caps on the country’s nuclear program.
Despite repeated reports by the IAEA that certified Iran’s full compliance with the deal – officially called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) – the US unilaterally withdrew from the accord and reinstated harsh economic sanctions.
Tehran fully honored its nuclear commitments under the JCPOA for an entire year afterward to give the remaining signatories ample time to secure its interests, but as it received no compensation for US sanctions, the Islamic Republic began to gradually and transparently reduce its nuclear commitments, in a legal move under the 2015 pact.
In recent days, as the world awaits a new round of talks aimed at removing US sanctions and reviving the JCPOA, Iran has called on the IAEA to refrain from politicizing technical matters that could be resolved otherwise.
“It is a fact that the IAEA has not treated Iran as it should,” Kamalvandi said. “We have been constantly pointed this out and issued warnings.”
Nevertheless, he continued, Iran has continued to strive and secure its rights and nullify the world powers’ plots to establish the accusation that Iran was seeking nuclear weapons.
“Of course, they ultimately want to say, ‘because Iran is looking for a nuclear weapon, it must not acquire a nuclear weapon,’” he said, adding that Tehran, despite knowing that the IAEA is under the influence of big powers, will not stop its cooperation with the UN nuclear agency.
US threatens to ramp up pressure on Iran via IAEA
In an escalation just a few days before the resumption of the Vienna talks, the US threatened on Thursday to confront Iran at the IAEA next month if it does not cooperate more with the watchdog.
“If Iran’s non-cooperation is not immediately remedied … the Board will have no choice but to reconvene in extraordinary session before the end of this year in order to address the crisis,” US chargé d’affaires in Vienna Louis Bono said at an IAEA Board of Governors meeting.
Bono claimed that Iran”has still not provided the necessary cooperation, even after extensive attempts by the [IAEA] director general to develop a constructive relationship with Iran’s new leadership.”
He said the US was “deeply disappointed that Iran refused to take the opportunity presented by [Rafael Grossi’s] visit to make progress on the long list of urgent outstanding issues before the Agency.”
In an exclusive interview with Press TV on Tuesday, Grossi said Israel and other countries that have not signed the NPT should do so, but steered clear of criticizing the Tel Aviv regime over its secretive nuclear weapons program, which observers believe is the real problem facing the region and the world.