Iran says the sudden commotion over a nascent enrichment facility outside Tehran is a Western ploy to create high international tensions ahead of crucial nuclear talks.
Parliament (Majlis) Speaker Ali Larijani said Sunday that Western powers seek to make an issue out of Iran’s nuclear activities in order to “impose their will on the country during the upcoming negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 group.
“Such efforts are primarily designed to impose the Western will on Iran and force the country into submission during the upcoming negotiations,” noted Larijani.
Western countries should have learnt by now that these tactics are all but a lost cause, he added.
Larijani said the commotion over Iran’s nuclear plans is utterly meaningless, as the country has repeatedly spelled out its peaceful nuclear plans “in no uncertain terms”.
“Even after we launched the facility in Isfahan, [US and European countries] raised serious concerns over the nature of enrichment plant. This is while they were well aware the product of the company is UF6, which is by no means threatening,” he said.
The Majlis speaker said the West has remained at loggerheads with Iran mainly over the independent and home-grown nature of its nuclear technology, which, according to Larijani, would give the country considerable leverage in the region.
In line with its policy of nuclear transparency, Iran announced the construction of a second enrichment plant in a letter to the UN nuclear watchdog on September 21. The new plant is due to produce enriched uranium up to 5 percent.
The letter was sent 12 months before the agency’s regulations oblige its members states to inform of new developments.
According to the agency’s document 153, member states are obliged to inform the body of the existence of enrichment plants 6 months before the introduction of nuclear materials into the facility.
US President Barack Obama, flanked by British and French leaders, was quick to condemn the existence of the nascent enrichment facility, accusing the country of “nuclear deception” and “safeguards violations”.
David Albright, a former UN nuclear inspector and now the head of the Institute for Science and International Security, disputed their claims on Friday, explaining that the move “does not constitute a formal violation of Iran’s obligations”.
Iranian nuclear officials have also dismissed the charges, asserting that Tehran had met its legal obligation to inform the UN nuclear agency of its activities and that it had invited inspections of the facility.
“Each and every one of the IAEA member states are entitled to enrich uranium, providing they inform the agency six months before the injection of gas,” said Alaeddin Boroujerdi, the Chairman of the Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Committee.
Boroujerdi said the Western hue and cry over Iran’s nuclear plans is totally unnecessary as the country notified UN nuclear officials about its nuclear plans well before the agency’s six-month deadline.
“By the looks of it, Western countries are planning to undermine nuclear talks between Iran and the 5+1 group later this week,” said Boroujerdi.
Iran and the United States will hold their first diplomatic talks in 30 years on October 1. The sit-down –which would also involve Russia, China, Britain and France– is slated to focus on wide-ranging talks addressing global issues along with Tehran’s differences with some Western countries..