Iran to IAEA: Saudi Arabia’s Nuke Program Not Transparent

Iran to IAEA: Saudi Arabia’s Nuke Program Not Transparent

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Iran’s permanent ambassador to the UN office in Geneva called on Saudi authorities to abide by their obligations under the NPT, adding that lack of transparency and cooperation with the IAEA’s inspectors has generated real concerns about the objective of Riyadh’s nuclear program.

“The international security environment has not only been deteriorating but is also getting increasingly alarming. The rule of law at the international level as well as the purposes and principles of the UN Charter have come under severe attacks from coercive and reckless unilateralism. The credibility and efficacy of the United Nations system and multilateral institutions are badly challenged by the United States. This would cause irreversible fatal damage to the legal and institutional constructs evolved over the past decades. It has put the entire edifice of postwar multilateralism at serious risk,” Esmaeil Baghaei Hamaneh said in an address to the UN Conference on Disarmament on Friday.

He added, “The United States, particularly under the current regime, has engaged in a barrage of outrageous assault against international treaties and multilateral institutions by aggressively violating many international agreements and by recklessly withdrawing from international organizations. The US is the only State that has simultaneously withdrawn from JCPOA, Paris Agreement, WHO, Human Rights Council, INF and Open Skies Treaty. The US has also thickened its criminal records by intensifying its indiscriminate genocidal unilateral sanctions against huge populations across the globe at the cost of violating basic human rights of the targeted people.”

“The US has blocked nuclear disarmament and nuclear arms control processes in defiance of its international obligations under the NPT at the international level while developing new generations of nuclear weapons in the meantime. The US regime has not only militarized internet domains and cyber space by turning it into a tool of coercion and sabotage, but also is set to militarize the outer space as well.

“There is every reason to be concerned about the danger of nuclear weapons in West Asia. While the Israeli regime, the only possessor of nuclear weapons in our region, persists in its blatant defiance of international law by refusing to become committed to relevant international legal regimes and by further enriching its nuclear arsenal, the Saudi Arabia’s nuclear program is adding another complexity to the already volatile region.”

He pointed to the Thursday speech to the conference by the Saudi ambassador to the UN and said, “We wish distinguished Ambassador of Saudi Arabia addressed this concern in his remarks this morning instead of bothering to fabricate a thick smokescreen by blaming others for all the wrong-doings, mistakes, and atrocities the Saudi establishment has knowingly been committing with the support and approval of the US across the region.

“Saudi Arabia, as a member of the NPT, of course has the right to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes and which we fully recognize. However, despite the fact that Saudi Arabia is a party to the NPT and has a Comprehensive Safeguard Agreement with the (IAEA), it has questionably failed to abide by its commitments. Lack of transparency and cooperation with the IAEA’s inspectors has generated real concerns about the objective and dimensions of Saudi nuclear program. We call upon Saudi authorities to honor their obligations under the NPT and the Safeguards Agreement and extend cooperation with the IAEA inspection regime.

“The IAEA and its Board of Governors have the responsibility to carry out their inspection/verification mandate and submit a report on the status of Saudi’s nuclear activities and prevent any misuse of old safeguard loopholes.”

Baghaei Hamaneh added, “It remains to be clarified why the Agency has preferred to be silent in this regard. This, especially in the light of the unjustified haste and prejudices about Iran’s peaceful nuclear program, which is under the IAEA’s most robust verification/inspection regime, could raise questions over the Agency’s impartiality and unbiasedness.”

He said that the IAEA is best advised to shield its credibility, impartiality, independence and professionalism against any suspicion to the contrary.

“Meanwhile Iran invites Saudi authorities to act like a responsible actor in the region, end carnage and ruthless destruction of Yemen, de-link from violent extremism and terrorism that has ravaged some Arab countries and let the countries in the region re- build collective trust and capitalize on deep – tied bonds of solidarity and good neighborliness to live in peace and harmony."

The New York Times reported last week that the agencies had in recent weeks circulated a classified analysis about Saudi attempts to build up its ability to produce nuclear fuel that could potentially lead to the development of nuclear weapons.

The study shows “a newly completed structure near a solar-panel production area near Riyadh, the Saudi capital, that some government analysts and outside experts suspect could be one of a number of undeclared nuclear sites,” the report said.

The site is situated in a secluded desert area not too far from the Saudi town of al-Uyaynah, located 30 kilometers northwest of Riyadh, and its Solar Village.

A recent article in The Wall Street Journal said that Western officials were concerned about a desert site in northwestern Saudi Arabia just south of the town of al-Ula.

It was part of a program with the Chinese to extract uranium yellowcake from uranium ore, according to the article.

Frank Pabian, a former satellite image analyst at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, said the desert site appears to be a small mill for turning uranium ore into yellowcake as it has a checkpoint, high security fences, a large building about 150 feet on a side and ponds for the collection of uranium waste.

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