US frustrated with European disregard for Iranian nuclear activities
Sunday 16/February/2020 - 05:53 PM
The Iranian nuclear program still raises international concerns, despite being subject to control and inspection, due to the suspicionsess of Iranian researchers' involvement in secret nuclear activities in locations not included on the map of nuclear sites, which Tehran submitted to the International Atomic Energy Agency.
In Vienna, U.S. Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette focused his remarks on Iran’s nuclear program, saying Tehran was still not providing the IAEA with answers about the discovery of uranium particles in a warehouse near the Iranian capital.
“We call on Iran to cooperate fully with IAEA in monitoring and inspecting Iran’s facilities, and in addressing all of the agency’s questions,” he said.
On the other hand, the head of Iran’s nuclear program Ali Akbar Salehi, however, told a meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna that last month’s drone strike that killed Gen. Qassem Soleimani resulted negative repercussions.
Tehran retaliated for the killing of Soleimani by launching a barrage of missiles on on two Iraqi military bases hosting American troops. There were no fatalities. Salehi reiterated, however, that Iran was prepared to do more.
“Be it known as my country strongly retaliated once, it will never hesitate to strike back when necessary,” he said.
The U.S. last month added new sanctions on Salehi's Atomic Energy Organization of Iran and on Salehi himself, freezing any assets the director had within U.S. jurisdiction, however, he said his country will continue its nuclear path regardless.
For his part, chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Sen. Jim Risch told the Washington Free Beacon that Iran is not "complying at all" with the landmark nuclear deal and continues to prevent international nuclear inspectors from accessing key sites suspected of housing the regime's sensitive atomic weapons program,
He also said he is worried by new reports from IAEA that there are "possible undeclared Iranian nuclear sites" that remain active in Iran.
Risch, who is also a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, recently met with IAEA head Rafael Grossi to gather more information on Iran's efforts to block access to inspectors and hide undeclared work on the weapons front.
"I don't think they're complying at all" with the nuclear restrictions enshrined in the accord, Risch told the Free Beacon, adding it is now clear Iran intends to continue violating caps on the amount of enriched uranium it can keep in the country.
"They have specifically said they're going to enrich beyond what the agreement said," Risch noted. "And they said they don't care what anybody does about it. You can't say they've been in compliance by any stretch."
In light of Iran’s moves in late 2019 to exceed caps on uranium and heavy water, a nuclear byproduct that could provide an alternate pathway to a bomb, many have argued that snapback is necessary.
"There's no question about that, and the Europeans know snapback is warranted," Risch said, expressing frustration with efforts by multiple European allies to stand in the way of snapback.
"As always with the Europeans, they drag their feet, they're tolerant when they shouldn't be tolerant. I tell them over and over again, I don't understand this. Why, why, oh why are you guys so tolerant of this? Why are you so dedicated to wanting to deal with the Iranians instead of doing what needs to be done?" Risch asked.
Iran does not "respect a gentle nudge, they don't respect the weakness, they don't respect people who are trying to do the right thing. They are recalcitrant in every respect," Risch added.