Envoy Hits Back at Saudi Arabia for Comments on Iran’s Nuclear Program

Envoy Hits Back at Saudi Arabia for Comments on Iran’s Nuclear Program

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – A diplomat at Iran’s mission to the international organizations in Vienna slammed Saudi Arabia for refusing to join the NPT or put its nuclear activities under IAEA supervision after the kingdom’s energy minister accused Iran of failing to cooperate with the UN nuclear agency.

In a statement released on Tuesday, the political attaché at Iran’s permanent mission to the Vienna-based international organizations, Khodayar Roozbehani, dismissed the allegations that Saudi Arabia’s energy minister has leveled against Iran during the 65th annual general conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

In a speech to the IAEA gathering, Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman has condemned what he called Iran’s drive to obtain a nuclear bomb and Tehran’s failure to cooperate with the UN nuclear agency’s inspectors.

The Saudi minister has also accused Iran of noncompliance with its commitments to the safeguards agreement.

In response, the Iranian diplomat said the bitter irony is that the adage that ‘the best defense is a good offense’ is turning into a pattern in the International Atomic Energy Agency.

“Saudi Arabia is commenting on Iran’s nuclear program while that country is still implementing the old version of the ‘small quantities protocol’ (SQP), and, as a result, is blocking the comprehensive supervision and verification of its nuclear program by the Agency (IAEA),” Roozbehani added.

Iran is fully and sincerely carrying out the comprehensive safeguards agreements and strongly believes that non-implementation of those agreements would be alarming wherever that may be, either in Saudi Arabia or the Israeli regime, the attaché stated.

“Iran, the Agency (IAEA) and the international community will be absolutely delighted if Saudi Arabia and others in the Middle East carry out the same safeguards commitments that Iran is honoring now,” he added.

The Iranian envoy also warned that ignorance of the realities on the ground in the Middle East would not be in the interests of regional and international peace and stability, bemoaning the fact that non-membership of the NPT has become an excuse for certain states for dodging commitment to the full and verifiable implementation of what assures the international community of the peacefulness of nuclear activities.

Although the IAEA’s secretariat has repeatedly called on Saudi Arabia to rescind the small quantities protocol (SQP), it should be considered that non-implementation of the IAEA’s safeguards in tandem with the annulment of the SQP would still allow Saudi Arabia to hide part of its nuclear activities from the IAEA inspectors, which will undermine the whole safeguards and non-proliferation regimes, he warned.

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