On Tuesday, as the head of the United Nations nuclear watchdog gave a broad interview to the Associated Press, he reiterated his concerns about Tehran’s refusal to uphold its commitments or demonstrate transparency about past and ongoing activities, as scepticism about the potential revival of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal grows. Director-General of the Foreign Atomic Energy Agency Rafael Grossi used the interview to warn Tehran that cooperating with international monitors is “no way around” if it wants sanctions relief or some form of “respect” from the international community.
Tehran’s refusal to uphold its commitments
Grossi answered questions from a Washington think tank before the seven parties to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) started negotiations in Vienna at the end of November, and admitted that he thought it would be a good idea to sanction Iran for its nuclear provocations. The regime and the IAEA were working together at the time to resolve concerns with inspectors’ access to surveillance cameras and monitoring equipment at Iranian nuclear installations. Despite Grossi’s accords with the regime, which were eventually broken by Tehran, those issues have yet to be resolved.
Because of the ongoing obstruction, there has been no video monitoring of the site for some weeks, leaving a permanent gap in the international community’s understanding of Tehran’s nuclear activities. In an interview with the Associated Press, Grossi described the scenario as leading to a “blurred image” and an “illusion” that fails to accurately reflect Iran’s current progress toward “breaking out” to nuclear weapons capabilities.
Liz Truss: the current round of talks is Tehran’s “last chance”
His remarks highlight the regime’s deception and attempts to hide the truth that the facility’s damage was caused by its own illegal activities.
On Thursday, British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss warned that the current round of talks is Tehran’s “last chance” to engage seriously in the resolution process, and on Monday, diplomats from the UK, France, and Germany declared that the JCPOA is on the verge of becoming an “empty shell” unless “swift progress” is made to compensate for Iran’s behaviour during the previous week of talks.
When those talks started after a five-month hiatus, they did so amid declarations from regime officials demanding the rapid, up-front, and total restoration of all US sanctions before ever discussing the regime’s reversal of its unlawful advances in its nuclear programme. The statements in question represent a more aggressive approach to nuclear extortion by the regime than it had taken during the previous six sessions of the Vienna talks – a point underscored on Tuesday by Grossi, who told the Associated Press that there had been a “palpable” change in Tehran’s behaviour following the June presidential transition, which brought Ebrahim Raisi to power.
Iran’s regime only understands toughness
On Tuesday, the Raisi administration’s chief representative to the Vienna talks, Ali Bagheri Kani, echoed the UK’s warning and declared that the JCPOA’s Western signatories are facing their “last chance” to rescue the deal. “These sanctions were imposed either during the Obama, Trump, or Biden administrations,” he continued, implying that the West’s weak response had encouraged the dictatorship to demand such a thing.
Tehran is playing games with Western authorities in order to buy time and continue its clandestine nuclear development. The Iranian dictatorship is blackmailing the international community by taking advantage of the current “appeasement” policy. The international community should put an end to the regime’s weak approach by applying sanctions. Iran’s governing theocracy only understands toughness; any move less than that will only allow Tehran to continue its nefarious activities.