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Khamenei's Defiant Foreign Policy Chief Lashes Out At EU Trio, IAEA

FILE - Top foreign policy aide to Iran's Supreme Leader Kamal Kharrazi. Undated
FILE - Top foreign policy aide to Iran's Supreme Leader Kamal Kharrazi. Undated

The top foreign policy aide to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has criticized UK, France and Germany for voting against Iran at the latest meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Kamal Kharrazi who is known for furthering Khamenei's policy on Europe, also accused IAEA Chief Rafael Grossi of behaving "suspiciously."

Kharrazi's remarks appeared as an identical article in several major Iranian news agencies, meaning it was more of a statement meant to be published and not part of a speech. No mention was made that he spoke at any public event.

The IAEA Board of governors on June 19 voted for a resolution suggested by the EU Trio calling on Iran to fulfil all its obligations to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) "without denial, deception, and wasting time.”

Meanwhile, the U.S. State Department has also described Iran's uranium enrichment program as "unacceptable" and a threat to "world peace and security."

Stressing its commitment to block Iran's access to nuclear weapons, the State Department said in its annual report that "Iran's efforts to retain files, documents, and personnel related to its pre-2004 nuclear weapons program – as revealed in the atomic archives acquired by Israel in 2018 – suggest that Iran may have kept this information at least in part to preserve technical expertise relevant to a nuclear weapons capability."

Kharrazi, a former foreign minister, also said that the fact Grossi held a meeting with Brian Hook, U.S. Special Representative for Iran, showed Grossi's "lack of independence." Hook met Grossi on July 1 in Vienna.

He further threatened that "the IAEA Chief's suspicious behaviour will undoubtedly lead to the collapse” of the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

Using the Islamic Republic's usual jargon, Kharrazi said the Islamic Republic will not submit to bullying by foreigners, adding that Iran's behaviour during the past decade has shown that increased pressures will make Tehran even more determined to follow the path it has chosen.

Iran has gradually reduced its obligations under the JCPOA in breach of the agreement with world powers after the United States withdrew from the nuclear deal in 2018 demanding a comprehensive agreement that would limit Iran's regional military ambitions and stop its destabilizing measures across the region and abandon its ballistic missile development plans that threatens US allies in the Middle East.

Kharrazi said defiantly that "the unilateral policies of the United States and the three European member states of the JCPOA to stop Iran's peaceful nuclear activity has always led to adverse results," adding that Tehran is adamant to continue its efforts to develop nuclear technology with even more determination.

He called the vote against Iran by the IAEA Board of Governors part of the United States plan to extend the arms embargo against Iran at the United Nations Security Council.

To prove that measures against Iran may not be fruitful Kharrazi reiterated that Iran managed to increase the number of its centrifuges to 19,000 in the late 2000s despite opposition by the EU Trio and when the West refused to give Iran 20 percent enriched Uranium for the Tehran reactor, Iran went ahead and enriched Uranium at the 20 percent level.

This sounds like a threat that if pressure increases on Iran it might increase both the quantity and the degree of its uranium enrichment.

He also added that the Rouhani administration did not remain silent after the U.S. pull-out from the JCPOA and designed powerful new centrifuges 20 times more powerful than the early generations and suspended some of its other obligations under the nuclear deal.

Kharrazi added that the centrifuges enable Iran to take more significant steps in reaction to the West's measures.

A blast and fire on Thursday morning ruined part of a building in Natanz where the new centrifuges were being assembled and balanced, said Iran's nuclear energy organization chief Behrouz Kamalvandi on 2 July.

Immediately after the event, Iran threatened on several media platforms that it "will change its policy in case the West crosses Iran's red lines." But it did not say exactly what Tehran will do and did not even clarify what it meant by red lines. The statement was attributed to the Supreme Council of National Security, but the Council did shy away from acknowledging it was the source of the vague statement.

Despite the "incident" as Kamalvandi called it, Kharrazi said on Friday Iran can manufacture and operate many more centrifuges and boost its production of enriched uranium within a short period of time. He added that following the suspension of its obligations, Iran has produced more than 1,500 Kilograms of enriched uranium. However, he did not mention that this was in breach of the 300 Kilogram cap Iran is allowed to produce under the JCPOA.

Using the defiant jargon once again, Kharrazi reiterated that "neither economic sanctions nor the arms embargo can stop Iran," adding that in spite of the U.S. maximum pressure policy Iran has had undeniable successes in producing weapons. He was probably referring to the overhauled 1970s F-5 aircraft and T-72 tanks Iran put on display last week as "modernized" weapons.