Amid Western clamor over Iran’s newly-disclosed nuclear enrichment facility, Tehran’s ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency challenges Western countries to prove their claim of ‘Iranian deception’.
Speaking to Press TV on Saturday, Ali Asghar Soltaniyeh explained that under the IAEA Safeguards Agreements, Iran is only obliged to inform the UN nuclear watchdog of the existence of enrichment plants six months before the facility goes operational.
Iranian officials have announced that the country’s second nuclear enrichment facility, believed to be located near the central city of Qom, will be operational in about 2 years.
Soltaniyeh said that “Iran has been too cooperative to inform well in advance.”
The remarks came in reaction to comments made by Western leaders addressing the issue of Iran’s second enrichment facility.
Speaking on Friday, the US President Barack Obama called the nascent Iranian nuclear facility “a direct challenge to the basic foundation of the nonproliferation regime.”
He also said that Iran’s second enrichment facility — which will reportedly house up to 3,000 centrifuges — “is inconsistent with a peaceful (nuclear) program” and demonstrates a “disturbing pattern” of evasion by Iran.
The French President Nicolas Sarkozy seconded President Obama’s stance and accused Tehran of taking the world down a “dangerous” path.
Meanwhile the British Prime Minister Gordon Brown reacted by saying that Iran’s “serial deception of many years” in its nuclear work demanded a tougher action by the international community.
Iran’s representative to the IAEA reacted to the united western front against the Islamic Republic, saying that the construction of a nuclear facility for civil purposes should not be considered as “deception” even if the Islamic Republic “is not informing the agency or Mr. Brown.”
“Now I challenge the United States or the UK or France to come to Vienna with their top legal experts and prove to me that we had had concealment,” Soltaniyeh told Press TV.
“I’m very sorry that they would not understand even the spirit and the letter of Statute [of the IAEA] and the Comprehensive Safeguards [Agreements],” he added.
Iran’s uranium enrichment has been the focus of prolonged international debates over the country’s nuclear program and is what some countries fear might lead to producing bomb-grade material for military purposes.
Tehran has denied seeking nuclear weapons and has called for the removal of all weapons of mass destruction across the globe.
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