On December 15, a bipartisan group of 21 US legislators submitted a combined letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, urging him to take a firm stance against Iran’s fundamentalist regime. They voiced their “growing concern about Iran’s advancing nuclear program and continued refusal to cooperate with International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors.”
Tehran produces advanced centrifuges
Representatives include Henry Cuellar (D-TX), Jodey Arrington (R-TX), Ann Wagner (R-MO), Tom Cole (R-OK), Jim Costa (D-CA), Bill Johnson (R-OH), Darrell Issa (R-CA), Bill Posey (R-FL), Ronny L. Jackson (R-TX), Bryan Steil (R-WI), Bob Gibbs (R-OH), Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ), Brad Wenstrup (R-OH), Mariannette Miller-Meeks, M.D. (R-IA), Dan Bishop (R-NC), Andrew Clyde (R-GA), Ben Cline (R-VA), Ted Budd (R-NC), Chris Jacobs (R-NY), J. Luis Correa (D-CA), Mo Brooks (R-AL).
“As your administration continues to explore diplomatic options, Iran has been advancing its nuclear program to dangerous levels. At the same time, there is a strong bipartisan consensus in Congress that Iran must be prevented from ever acquiring a nuclear weapons capability,” representatives underlined.
Iran has been undermining the IAEA’s monitoring capabilities for months by denying inspectors access to major nuclear sites where Tehran produces advanced centrifuges.
Iran’s refusal to address inquiries nuclear activity
In recent weeks, IAEA Director-General Rafael Grossi has repeatedly warned the Board of Governors about Iran’s refusal to address inquiries on previously unreported nuclear activity and general inability to meet its obligations under the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT).
“As a result,” according to Grossi, “stop-gap procedures to monitor Iran’s nuclear programme are no longer “intact.” However, the United States did not lead any effort, and the Board did not take any action, to press Iran to change its policies,” according to US lawmakers.
They also brought up the statement made by US Chargé d’Affaires Louis L. Bono at the IAEA Board of Governors meeting on November 25. “It is critical that the Board break the current pattern of Iran’s last-minute attempts to undermine Board unity and prevent Board action in the face of continued Iranian non-cooperation” Bono had said.
Grossi: “a country enriching at 60% is a very serious thing”
Representatives also reminded US Secretary of State Antony Blinken about his administration’s desire to revive the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which emphasizes the relevance of international treaties.
“Iran’s ongoing efforts to degrade monitoring capabilities and refusal to answer questions about undisclosed nuclear activity call into question the IAEA’s authority and the NPT’s legitimacy.” “These issues go far beyond the JCPOA and directly address Iran’s compliance with the NPT and the agency’s safeguards agreement,” representatives said.
Grossi emphasized the gravity of Iran’s increased enrichment levels in March, saying that “a country enriching at 60% is a very serious thing — only countries making bombs reach this level.”
“Continued refusal to cooperate with the IAEA will have a high cost,”
“The new Iranian government has shown no willingness to work with the international community to resolve these transgressions thus far.” “It is critical that the United States take the lead in holding Iran accountable for its violations of international agreements and demonstrating to the Iranians that intransigence has a high price,” legislators wrote.
“Without a show of resolve, Iran will likely conclude that the United States’ desire to return to the JCPOA has trumped its need to address the IAEA’s concerns.” “We applaud the administration’s numerous statements expressing determination to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons,” they added.
“The Administration must demonstrate clearly to the Iranians that continued refusal to cooperate with the IAEA will have a high cost,” they stated in their letter.