Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Saeed Khatibzadeh hit back at concerns voiced by the United States, European countries, and Saudi Arabia over the Iranian nuclear program. Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, Khatibzadeh stated that his country’s decision to manufacture silicide fuel plates using 20% enriched uranium is fully for peaceful purposes. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has been informed regarding the latest move, the Iranian diplomat added.
The IAEA announced on Tuesday that Iran had started to produce enriched uranium metal. Iran’s decision drew heavy criticism from the US, UK, France, and Germany. Issuing a statement on the issue, the US and three European countries warned Iran that the latest move could undermine the ongoing negotiations between these powers and Tehran, aimed to revive the 2015 nuclear deal.
Upon the allegations, Khatibzadeh said, “Contrary to these countries’ claims, this product enjoys peaceful, pharmaceutical, and humanitarian applications, and its production is in no way contradictory to Iran’s nuclear non-proliferation and safeguard commitments.”
The spokesperson also accused the three European countries of cooperating with the US in its “extra-territorial and illegal sanctions.”
Also, he emphasized that the European states blame Iran for not committing its duties under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), although they had never “gone beyond words in implementing their own obligations.” Recalling that his country is ready to turn to its commitments under the JCPOA, Khatibzadeh added, “No one should expect Iran to unilaterally observe its JCPOA commitments, while it is under tremendous pressure from the sanctions.”
Meanwhile, Iran’s permanent representative to the international organizations in Vienna, Kazem Gharibabadi, reacted to Saudi Arabia’s permanent representative to the UN and international organizations in Vienna, Prince Abdullah bin Khalid bin Sultan, over his remarks targeting the Iranian nuclear program.
Stating that Iranian activities do not match with the peacefulness of its nuclear program, which Tehran insistently advocates, the Saudi envoy said, “this approach negatively affects any negotiations related to the nuclear agreement as the knowledge gained from research and development work cannot be reversed.”
In response to the Saudi envoy’s remarks, Gharibabadi said, “For Saudi Arabia, the UN nuclear agency is not being provided with even minimum necessary verification authorities. A failure to implement the safeguards by rescinding the SQPs (small quantities protocols) could allow them to hide certain nuclear activities without them being subject to the IAEA inspections.”