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Zarif: Those with nukes won’t be allowed to trifle with IAEA

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says as nuclear armed parties, the United States and israel will not be allowed to play around with the UN nuclear watchdog and its mission.

“Of course, we will not allow those that both oppose the agency’s goals and disrupt our region and the world’s peace and security by owning nuclear weapons, namely the Zionist regime and the United States that is the sole party to have used nuclear arms, to mock the agency’s goals and trifle with it,” Zarif said on Monday.

The US became the first and ultimately the only country to use nuclear arms when it leveled the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. Israel has also been revealed across numerous reports and by various current and former world authorities to be the sole party in possession of nuclear weapons in the Middle East.

Washington and Tel Aviv have, however, continually been accusing Iran’s peaceful nuclear work of diversion towards non-peaceful purposes.

They have been trying to pressure the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) into coming up with excuses to inspect locations inside the Islamic Republic that they claim has hosted “undeclared” nuclear activity in the past.

Earlier in the year, the agency requested access to two such alleged sites, citing information provided to it by the Israeli intelligence service. Tehran has strongly rejected the claim, and reminded that the IAEA’s mandate prevents it from taking orders from any spy service.

Zarif likewise noted that Iran’s cooperation with the agency was “based on the principle of transparency that the Islamic Republic has observed.”

He reminded that in line with a religious decree issued by Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, Iran “neither has nor will ever pursue” nuclear weapons.

As per the Leader’s decree and in line with ideological principles, the weapons are considered to be “religiously forbidden,” Zarif said, adding that the country also perceives such weapons to be a source of “strategic detriment” and thus refuses to either produce or obtain them.

“Based on this very principle of transparency, the Islamic Republic has always been prepared for cooperation with the agency,” he noted.

The Iranian top diplomat also addressed a pending visit by the IAEA chief Rafael Grossi to Tehran, which is to take place on Tuesday at Tehran’s invitation.

‘Grossi visit unrelated to anti-Iran US bid’

The visit, Zarif said, has to do with the extensive talks that Tehran and the agency have been holding over the past months, “which is very important to Iran and the agency’s cooperation.”

The trip has nothing to do with a current US push to trigger a “snapback” of the United Nations’ sanctions against the Islamic Republic, he added.

The US is trying to invoke the mechanism in a 2015 international nuclear deal with Iran to force the return of the sanctions.

The parties to the deal that the United States withdrew from in 2018 are Iran, the UK, France, Russia, China, and Germany.

The US withdrawal also violated Security Council Resolution 2231, which endorses the deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

In a long-shot attempt, however, the United States is claiming that it can invoke the deal’s stipulations because it is still “mentioned” in the resolution as a partner.

Zarif noted that 13 of the UN Security Council’s 15-strong members have announced their refusal to cooperate with the United States on the matter after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo “notified” the council that Washington had begun trying to trigger the module.

The Iranian top diplomat said not only are the countries opposed to the US bid, but they also say Washington has no right to launch it at the Security Council in the first place.

The overall situation has put the US “in a very bad” situation, Zarif said.

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