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Iran warns IAEA board against falling under US, ‘israel’ pressure

Iran's Foreign Ministry has warned the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)’s Board of Governors against targeting Tehran under pressure from the United States and Israel.

“Should an unconstructive decision as such be taken, Iran is likely to respond with a proportionate reaction,” ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said in Tehran on Monday during a regular press briefing, adding, “They can probably guess what Iran’s reaction will be.”

The board is scheduled to hold a virtual meeting and discuss a range of matters later Monday, but a controversial report that the IAEA recently released about Iran is expected to take center stage.

The report apparently alleged that “Iran has for months blocked inspections at two sites where nuclear activity may have occurred in the past,” AFP reported earlier in the month.

The Islamic Republic, however, strongly rejects any allegations of non-cooperation with the IAEA, insisting that it is prepared to resolve any potentially outstanding differences with the United Nations nuclear agency. 

“The basis of the meeting is allegations made by the  Zionist regime,” Mousavi said, denouncing the IAEA for acting on Israel’s claims. The agency should instead retain its neutrality and base its reports on concrete and legally-obtained information.

Tel Aviv and Washington are notorious for continually alleging the existence of diversionary aspects to Iran’s nuclear activities. This is while the agency has closed a dossier addressing “possible military dimensions” of the Islamic Republic’s nuclear energy program.

“They are opening up a closed case. The basis for their allegations is the information that is claimed to have been obtained through espionage by the Zionist regime and [Israeli prime minister Benjamin] Netanyahu,” Mousavi said.

The spokesman called it “regrettable” that the agency has chosen to ignore Tehran’s long history of cooperation with it in favor of the accusations leveled by the Israeli regime, which is infamous for its antagonism towards Iran’s Islamic establishment and the international order.

However, the official hoped that the Board of Governors’ meeting would not lead to the issuance of any resolution targeting Iran, cautioning that such a decision “would somehow complicate Iran’s cooperation with the agency.”

Arms embargo extension ‘red line’

Mousavi also addressed the issue of the United States’ intention to extend an arms embargo against Iran that will expire in October under a 2015 nuclear agreement between the Islamic Republic and world powers.

The US illegally and unilaterally left the agreement officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in 2018. Washington, however, claims that it is still a JCPOA member because it is “named” so in the UN Security Council Resolution 2231 that endorsed the nuclear agreement.

Mousavi expressed hope that no party would try to have the embargo prolonged, calling its potential extension “a red line.”

UN Yemen report ‘baseless’

The ministry spokesman separately pointed to a recent report by the UN Secretariat alleging that “the cruise missiles and/or parts thereof” that hit Saudi Arabian oil facilities last year “are of Iranian origin.”

Mousavi denounced the report as baseless, saying it has been produced under pressure from the US and the Saudi regime.

Yemen’s popular Houthi Ansarullah movement has claimed full responsibility for the missile strikes that came in retaliation for the Saudi invasion of the impoverished country.

Underlining Washington’s influence on the world body and its activities, Mouasvi, said, “Note that the US has been holding international organizations hostage for years on end.”

South Korea not allowed to block Iran assets

The official finally pointed to South Korea’s blocking of Iranian assets under pressure from the US which has imposed unilateral sanctions on Tehran since leaving the JCPOA in 2018.

Mousavi said Tehran has long been after unblocking the assets, adding Seoul “is not allowed” to retain them for an extended period under the pretext of toeing the sanction line.

He called the sanctions “an arbitrary decision” by a country which is trying to exert pressure against Iran and its trade partners in a bullying manner, advising South Korea not to sacrifice its 50-year-old-plus relations with the Islamic Republic for the sake of the United States.

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