Iran Would Not Stop Its Excess Uranium Enrichment, Says Envoy To IAEA
Iran's envoy to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Kazem Gharibabadi, says Iran has started the last stage in enriching uranium 238 and feeding fuel into the underground centrifuges in its Natanz facility. He lashed out at Western criticism, warning that "No one is entitled to remind us of our obligations."
Stressing that Iran cannot stop the reduction of its obligations under the nuclear deal with the West, he also said, “matters relating to national security and the security of our nuclear establishments are our highest priorities."
Speaking to Khabar Online website in Tehran on Sunday, Nov ember 22, Gharibabadi said: "This is a ragged tactic that the IAEA announces that Iran's uranium reserves have exceeded 12 times the amount allowed by the 2015 nuclear deal and some countries make a fuss about it by expressing concern about proliferation."
Gharibabadi was referring to the statement made by Germany, France and the UK on November 19, in which the EU trio, who are signatories of the nuclear or the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), had expressed concern over Iran's recent action in reducing its obligations and speeding up enrichment and called for Iran's "immediate return to its previous obligations."
In the statement, France, Germany and the United Kingdom (known as the ‘E3’) expressed concern at Iran’s nuclear activities including the enrichment of uranium above 3.67% and its growing stockpile of low-enrichment uranium. The E3 called on Tehran to return to compliance with its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers and to answer all outstanding queries over past undeclared nuclear activities.
A day earlier, on November 18, Jackie Wolcott, the US envoy to the IAEA told the agency's board of governors that Iran's explanations about nuclear particles detected in a previously undeclared site near Tehran have not been convincing.
Responding to these concerns, Gharibabadi said that "Iran cannot stop its move to reduce its obligations under the JCPOA as long as sanctions imposed on Iran have not been lifted and Iran cannot benefit from the nuclear deal."
Meanwhile, addressing Saudi Arabia's concerns about the reduction of Iran's nuclear obligations, Gharibabadi said: "Regardless of the extent of progress of Saudi Arabia's nuclear program, the fact that such a country dares to speak about nuclear weapons, reveals its hidden intentions and secret plans."
Gharibabadi told Khabar Online that further to the first generation centrifuges, Iran will be also using a series of 174 new generation centrifuges in Natanz, adding that following the explosion in its in Natanz enrichment facility in July, Iran has taken measures to enhance the security of the establishment and those who work there.
Recently, IAEA Chief Rafael Grossi had called - apparently on the United States and Israel - not to launch any military attack on Natanz as that might endanger the lives of IAEA inspectors currently paying a visit to Iran.
Iran's envoy to the IAEA has also responded to Grossi's remarks by saying that "There is no need for anyone to be concerned about the safety of the inspectors and continuation of inspections."
Grossi made the remarks after a New York Times report revealed last week that US President Donald Trump had consulted with his advisers at the White House about the possibility of a strike on the Natanz nuclear site withing the coming weeks.
The publication of the New York Times report coincided with Iran's announcement about feeding the underground centrifuges in Natanz.