Iran’s Raisi warns West of IAEA move

Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi speaks before parliament in the capital Tehran, on August 25, 2021, to defend his choices for the ministerial posts. (AFP photo)

SULAIMANI (ESTA) — Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi warned Western states against rebuking Tehran at the U.N. atomic watchdog after its latest reports criticized his country.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said in reports to member states that there had been no progress on two central issues, Reuters reported on Wednesday.

The issues included explaining uranium traces found at several old, undeclared sites and getting urgent access to some monitoring equipment so that the IAEA can continue to keep track of parts of Iran’s nuclear programme.

“In the event of a counterproductive approach at the IAEA, it would not make sense to expect Iran to react constructively,” Raisi said in a phone call with European Council President Charles Michel, according to Reuters.

“Counterproductive measures are naturally disruptive to the negotiation path also,” he added.

Tuesday’s criticism by the IAEA means the United States and its European allies must now decide whether to push for a resolution at next week’s meeting of the 35-nation IAEA Board of Governors pressuring Iran to yield.

In 2018 then-President Donald Trump pulled Washington out of the 2015 deal, under which Iran agreed to restrictions on its nuclear activities in return for the lifting of sanctions.

The Islamic Republic responded to the Trump administration’s withdrawal and reimposition of sanctions by violating many of those restrictions.

Speaking in Germany, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said time was running out for Iran to return to that accord.

“I’m not going to put a date on it but we are getting closer to the point at which a strict return to compliance with the JCPOA [nuclear deal] does not reproduce the benefits that agreement achieved.”

Western diplomats have said that a decision on how to respond to the IAEA reports has yet to be reached.

“We find ourselves at a moment of discussing with all our partners in the agreement how to react to this,” German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said alongside Blinken.

Senior diplomats from France, Britain and Germany will meet on Friday in Paris with the U.S. envoy on Iran to discuss the matter.

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