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Netanyahu: IAEA ‘surrender’ to Iran a ‘black mark’

The U.N. watchdog closed two probes into Iranian nuclear sites.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu presents Iranian nuclear files to reporters at the Kirya military headquarters in Tel Aviv, April 30, 2018. Credit: Miriam Alster/Flash90.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu presents Iranian nuclear files to reporters at the Kirya military headquarters in Tel Aviv, April 30, 2018. Credit: Miriam Alster/Flash90.

The International Atomic Energy Agency’s “surrender” to Iran is a “black mark” on the U.N. nuclear watchdog’s record, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at the beginning of Sunday’s weekly Cabinet meeting.

“About Iran, Iran is continuing to lie to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The agency’s capitulation to Iranian pressure is a black stain on its record,” said Netanyahu.

“We revealed information to the world when we brought to Israel Iran’s secret nuclear archive five years ago. This information unequivocally proved that Iran was violating the oversight agreements and that it was enriching uranium for military—not innocent civilian—purposes,” he added, referring to the Mossad’s 2018 theft of an entire archive of Iranian nuclear documents from Tehran.

Confidential IAEA reports released last week show that the organization has closed two investigations into Iranian nuclear sites.

The IAEA  decided to close the probe on traces of man-made uranium at the undeclared Marivan site in Abadeh County, in the southern province of Fars. The Vienna-based intergovernmental organization “has no additional questions … and the matter is no longer outstanding at this stage” after receiving a “possible explanation” from Iran, according to the reports.

Marivan is one of three undeclared sites where the IAEA said that traces of radioactive material were discovered, the other two being Varamin and Turquzabad.

The IAEA also closed its investigation regarding the underground Fordow facility after inspectors found uranium particles enriched to 83.7%.

According to the reports, the IAEA has reinstalled a small fraction of the monitoring equipment put in place under the terms of the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear deal and removed by the Iranian regime.

Iran’s estimated stockpile of enriched uranium has surpassed 23 times the limit set in the nuclear accord, according to the IAEA.

“Iran’s excuses since then regarding the finding of nuclear material in prohibited locations are not only unreliable, they are technically impossible,” said Netanyahu.

“The IAEA’s ineffectual conduct in the face of these weak excuses conveys a message to Iran’s rulers that they need not pay any price whatsoever for their violations, and that they can continue deceiving the international community with their efforts to obtain nuclear weapons,” the prime minister said.

“If the IAEA becomes a political organization, then its oversight activity in Iran is without significance, as will be its reports on Iran’s nuclear activity. In any case, Israel under our leadership, will not stand by. We will strongly uphold our position, both publicly and behind closed doors,” continued Netanyahu.

The premier noted that Strategic Affairs Minister Ron Dermer and National Security Adviser Tzachi Hanegbi returned from the U.S. where they held high-level discussions regarding Iran.

Jake Sullivan, national security advisor to U.S. President Joe Biden, hosted the Israelis at the White House on June 1 “to discuss a broad range of global and regional issues of mutual concern,” per a White House readout.

The meeting was a follow-up to a March 6 meeting of the U.S.-Israel Strategic Consultative Group.

The Israeli and U.S. officials “continued discussions on enhanced coordination to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon, and ways to counter threats from Iran and its proxies.”

Former U.S. President Donald Trump ended the American commitment to the JCPOA in 2018 in favor of imposing punishing sanctions on the regime in Tehran. Efforts to revive the pact have taken place during the Biden administration’s time in office.

The IAEA quarterly reports are being released this week ahead of the regular meeting of the organization’s Board of Governors scheduled for next week. The Board of Governors has members from 35 countries.

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