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Zarif, Lavrov Slam US And UN Nuclear Watchdog In Moscow Meeting

Mohammad Javad Zarif (L) of Iran in Moscow, in a joint press conference with Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov. 16 Jun 2020

Iran’s foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says “Iran will not allow” the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog to become “a tool for destroying” the 2015 nuclear agreement signed between Iran and world powers.

Zarif was speaking in a joint press conference with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in Moscow on Tuesday.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA( on Monday criticized Iran for lack of cooperation in allowing international inspectors full access to conduct their investigations of possible nuclear sites.

Reports say that the three European signatories of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA, Germany, France and the U.K. have prepared a resolution to censure Iran for the lack of cooperation. The United States backs efforts to force Iran to allow full access to UN inspectors.

President Donald Trump decided to withdraw form the JCPOA in May 2018, demanding Iran to renegotiate a stronger agreement preventing it from acquiring nuclear weapons.

Zarif told reporters in Moscow, “The job of the Trump administration is to exit international agreements and organizations and we will not allow the IAEA become a tool in the hands of the Trump administration to destroy JCPOA”.

The official Iranian news agency IRNA quoted Zarif as saying that his country has always cooperated with the IAEA and has discharges its duties.

The controversy around more inspections began in 2018 when Israel revealed evidence it said was acquired through espionage efforts that Iran had hidden evidence of a secret weapons program. In his remarks Zarif condemned efforts to use evidence based on “espionage” to demand additional inspections. However, the IAEA appears to be convinced such inspections are necessary.

The Russian foreign minister Lavrov backed Zarif’s position in the press conference condemning U.S. efforts to extend a UN arms embargo beyond October 2020.

Washington "has no right to punish Iran by profiting from the Security Council's authority and, in fact, manipulating the Security Council and, to some extent, the UN Secretariat," Lavrov said. He was probably referring to a recent report by the UN Secretary General saying Iran might have violated the UN arms embargo.

Reporting by IRNA, Interfax