Monday, September 18, 2023

EU criticizes Iran’s exclusion of nuclear inspectors


The European Union (EU) has called on Iran to reconsider its decision to withdraw accreditation from several inspectors from the UN nuclear watchdog. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) had expressed concerns that this move would seriously hinder its work. The decision reportedly affects eight inspectors from France and Germany. As the coordinator for the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers, known as the JCPOA, Brussels expressed its deep concern over the development and urged Iran to reverse its decision promptly.

The EU emphasized the direct and severe impact of Iran’s decision on the agency’s ability to conduct verification activities, including monitoring the JCPOA. The EU’s call for reconsideration comes after Iran’s Foreign Ministry stated that the move was a response to “political abuses” by the US, France, Germany, and Britain. The 2015 accord aimed to curb Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for relief from economic sanctions. However, the deal began to unravel in 2018 when former US President Donald Trump withdrew from it and reimposed sanctions. Since then, Iran has increased its nuclear program while denying any ambitions of developing nuclear weapons.

Efforts to revive the JCPOA have been unsuccessful thus far. Last week, European signatories to the deal, including Britain, France, and Germany, announced that they would not lift sanctions on Iran as originally planned. The EU’s reaction to Iran’s withdrawal of inspectors comes amidst reports of an attack on paramilitary forces in southern Iran. Gunmen opened fire on the group, killing one member and injuring three others. The motive for the attack remains unclear, although it occurred on the anniversary of the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old who died while in police custody.

In a separate incident near the city of Saqqez in Iran’s western Kurdish region, a man was shot and wounded by security forces after entering an area under military restrictions. The heavy deployment of Iranian security forces in Tehran and Kurdish areas was observed on the anniversary, with reports of a general strike in Kurdish regions. Amini, who was from the Kurdish region, died in September 2022 after being detained in Tehran for allegedly violating the country’s dress code.

The recent developments in Iran highlight the ongoing tensions surrounding its nuclear program and the challenges faced in reviving the JCPOA. The EU’s call for Iran to reconsider its decision to withdraw inspectors reflects the importance of maintaining transparency and cooperation in monitoring Iran’s nuclear activities. The IAEA plays a crucial role in verifying compliance with the JCPOA and ensuring that Iran’s nuclear program remains peaceful.

The attack on paramilitary forces and the shooting incident near Saqqez also underscore the security challenges faced by Iran. The motives behind these incidents are yet to be determined, but they serve as a reminder of the volatile situation in certain regions of the country. It is essential for Iran to address these security concerns and work towards stability and peace within its borders.

As the international community continues to navigate the complexities of Iran’s nuclear program, it is crucial for all parties involved to engage in constructive dialogue and find diplomatic solutions. The EU’s call for Iran to reconsider its decision is a step towards maintaining open channels of communication and ensuring the effectiveness of the JCPOA. It remains to be seen how Iran will respond to this call and whether there will be any progress in reviving the nuclear deal.

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