TEHRAN (Iran News) – An Iranian diplomat on Thursday categorically rejected “baseless allegations” against Tehran’s nuclear and missile programs by certain European countries and Saudi Arabia, saying Tehran’s peaceful programs are being pursued in line with the country’s inherent rights and international commitments.
Heidar Ali Balouji, representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the UN General Assembly First Committee, said in a statement that Iran is committed to the full implementation of the 2015 nuclear agreement, officially called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), provided that the other signatories live up fully to their commitments and lift all unjust sanctions in a speedy and verifiable manner.
“On JCPOA, as we stated earlier, the uncontested reality is that so far, Iran has adhered to the JCPOA terms while U.S. and E3 have failed to meet their JCPOA obligations,” Balouji stated, according to Press TV.
E3 refers to three European countries of Britain, France and Germany that are still party to the 2015 nuclear party but have just been paying lip service to the agreement since the deal was ditched by former U.S. president Donald Trump in May 2018 under his “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran.
The “maximum pressure” was intended to strangulate the Iranian economy. In retaliation, Iran adopted “maximum resistance” in the face of illegal sanctions and began to gradually suspend some of its nuclear commitments a year after the U.S. withdrawal. The Iranian compensatory measures were in line with the paragraph 36 of the JCPOA which has “provided a mechanism to resolve disputes and allows one side, under certain circumstances, to stop complying with the deal if the other side is out of compliance.”
Balouji said in addition to honoring their JCPOA commitments, the European countries need to put pressure on the U.S. to return to full implementation of the JCPOA and UN Security Council Resolution 2231.
Since April, Iran and the remaining parties to the JCPOA have been holding talks in Austria’s capital, Vienna, to bring the U.S. back into the deal and lift its anti-Iran sanctions. While the talks have been paused since Iran’s presidential election, Tehran has said it will only engage in talks that are aimed at reaching tangible outcomes.
Balouji’s remarks came after the UK representative to the UN General Assembly First Committee called on Iran to resume the Vienna talks without delay, saying, “Iran’s escalatory nuclear activity undermines the counter-proliferation value of the JCPOA and threatens its preservation.”
Aidan Liddle also voiced “deep concerns” about what he called “Iran’s destabilizing activity and its ballistic missile activities.”
Italy’s envoy, Stefano Stefanile, also voiced deep concerns about Iran’s “disengagement from the JCPOA” and urged Iran to “implement, fully and without delay, its obligations under the Plan.”
On allegations about Iran’s missile program, Balouji said Iran’s defensive missile capability is being pursued in line with the country’s inherent rights and international commitments.
Certain Western countries that have launched a campaign against Iran for its defensive missile program are those countries that supplied sophisticated arms to former Iraqi ruler Saddam Hussein in his war against Iran in the 1980s. These same countries even refused to sell arms to Iran to defend itself. Some of these countries even sold materials for building chemical weapons to the Saddam regime which used them against Iranian troops and civilians and also Kurds in northern Iraq.
‘Saudi Arabia, Israel missed no chance to undermine JCPOA’
He also denounced the Saudi representative’s anti-Iran allegations, saying the kingdom, along with the Israeli regime, did their best to derail the negotiations that led to the JCPOA, and afterward, missed no chance to seriously undermine the full and effective implementation of the deal and resolution 2231.
“They still pursue such policies and practices systematically and in gross violation of their explicit legal obligations under the Charter of the United Nations,” the Iranian envoy said.
“The representative of the KSA is raising questions about Iran’s peaceful nuclear program while it is still implementing an old version of SQPs, thus preventing the IAEA from being able to fully monitor and verify the Saudi’s nuclear activities,” he added.
The SQP or the small quantities protocol is a protocol to a comprehensive safeguards agreement concluded between the IAEA and a state on the basis that the state has less than specified minimal quantities of nuclear material and no nuclear material in a facility.
In a speech before the First Committee, Riyadh’s ambassador, Abdullah bin Yahya al-Mouallimi, had claimed that Iran’s continued enrichment of uranium beyond the JCPOA limits “poses a threat to the security of the countries of the region.”
He had also described Iran’s ballistic missile program as “dangerous” and called for efforts to address Tehran’s “negative practices” and ensure that Iran would be prevented from “acquiring nuclear weapons.”
In response, the Iranian envoy said, “On regional security, raising unfounded accusations against the defensive ballistic missile program of Iran is also an attempt to cover up the skyrocketing trend in the military expenditure of Saudi Arabia and its unquenchable appetite for importing deadly arms.”
While expressing hope that Riyadh will heed Iran’s calls to establish a dialogue within the region to address regional problems, Balouji said the real source of regional insecurity is the massive build-up of foreign forces and military installations, a large number of which are hosted by some regional countries, including Saudi Arabia.