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Ambassador Says U.S. Is For 'Comprehensive Agreement' With Iran

U.S. Representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Jackie Wolcott. File photo

The U.S. Representative to the Vienna Office of the United Nations and Representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has said that Washington is looking forward “to concluding a comprehensive agreement with Iran that addresses the totality of our concerns”.

Ambassador Jackie Wolcott told the IAEA Board of Governors in Vienna on March 5 that Iran should end “its destabilizing conduct and return to the negotiating table”.

Wolcott added that the United States has made it clear why it pulled out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), or the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran. The core issue is Islamic republic’s behavior.

“In pursuing a comprehensive agreement, we are offering Iran the possibility of full normalization of relationships with the international community: an end to not just some but all U.S. sanctions, full diplomatic and commercial relationships”, Wolcott said, adding that the U.S. is willing to help the modernization of Iran’s economy and its reintegration with the international economic system. But the condition for these is for Iran “to change its behavior, and to take lasting steps that demonstrate that its nuclear program will forever remain exclusively peaceful”.

In April 2018, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claimed that his country’s agents had retrieved a vast archive of nuclear materials from a warehouse in Tehran, which Iran was trying to hide.

Iran never officially denied or refuted Netanyahu's accusation, which seemed odd given its readiness to respond to all sorts of international criticism, especially Israeli statements.

In September Netanyahu mentioned the secret archive again. "Today I am disclosing for the first time that Iran has another secret facility in Tehran, a secret atomic warehouse for storing massive amounts of equipment and materiel from Iran's secret nuclear program," Netanyahu told the annual United Nations General Assembly.

Iran’s foreign minister Javad Zarif responded to Netanyahu after his U.N. speech by blaming Israel for having nuclear weapons, but not a clear denial of the nuclear archive.

The U.S. representative insisted that verification of Iran’s nuclear activities is important. “Absent assurances of effective verification, there is no chance for diplomacy to succeed, so it is up to all of us”, she told the IAEA board.

She asked the meeting why Iran kept “an immense” archive of its nuclear know-how and expertise after JCPOA and added that this shows the “weakness of temporary restrictions” in the agreement.

Since the nuclear agreement, the IAEA has continued regular inspections of relevant sites in Iran and has verified that Tehran is abiding by JCPOA. However, Wolcott tried to argue that these verifications are not the final solution. “As we move forward, Iran must end its longstanding efforts to deny and conceal the reality of past nuclear weapons work” she reiterated, telling the board, “These issues must be addressed in a clear and straightforward manner, without further delay.”

Iran has always maintained that it is fully cooperating with the IAEA and is not concealing any nuclear activities from the international community.

The U.S. ambassador also defended the reimposition of U.S. sanctions, denying that they are a violation of U.N. resolution 2231, which formalized the nuclear agreement.

“I would briefly like to respond to claims that have been made that the reimposition of U.S. sanctions somehow violates UN Security Council Resolution 2231 and the UN Charter. This is simply not the case. The United States has ceased its participation in the JCPOA. We are out of the deal, not in violation of it” Wolcott said, concluding her remarks by insisting that leaving the nuclear agreement is not a violation of the U.N. charter.