Iran urges IAEA ‘not to yield to Israel’s pressure’, says ready to cooperate

Iran urges IAEA ‘not to yield to Israel’s pressure’, says ready to cooperate

The logo of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is seen at their headquarters during a board of governors meeting in Vienna, Austria, June 7, 2021. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger/File Photo

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DUBAI, Sept 12 (Reuters) – Iran said on Monday it was ready to continue cooperating with U.N. nuclear watchdog while revealing a drone capable of hitting major cities in Israel, which has threatened to attack Iranian nuclear sites if diplomacy fails to save a 2015 nuclear pact.

Speaking after European powers expressed frustration with Tehran’s intentions to salvage the agreement, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani urged the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) “not to yield to Israel’s pressure” over Tehran’s nuclear activities.

The IAEA’s Board of Governors meets Monday, three months after it adopted a resolution asking Iran to provide credible answers to its investigations into uranium trace at three Iranian sites. Iran claims that the probes are politically motivated.

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On Saturday, France, Britain and Germany said they had “serious doubts” about Iran’s intentions to revive a deal curbing its nuclear programme in return for a lifting of sanctions, comments that were rejected by Tehran and called “very untimely” by Moscow. read more

“Iran announces its constructive cooperation with the agency as its obligation … Kanaani stated that Iran has obligations but also has rights.

“Naturally Iran expects constructive actions from IAEA and the members of its governing board. “

After 16 months of indirect talks between Tehran and Washington, European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said on Aug. 8 the bloc had laid down a final offer to overcome an impasse for the revival of the agreement.

Earlier this month, Iran sent its latest response to the EU’s proposed text. It was seen as a step backwards by Western diplomats. Tehran wanted to tie a renewal of the agreement with the closing of IAEA investigations into uranium trace traces.

Kanaani called Saturday’s European statement “unconstructive”.

“Both the U.S. and Europe should prove that they do not prioritize the interests of the Zionist regime (Israel) when taking political decisions,” he said.

Widely believed to have the Middle East’s only nuclear arms but which sees Iran as a existential threat, Israel says it will attack Iranian nuclear sites if diplomacy fails to contain Tehran’s nuclear ambitions. Iran has pledged a “crushing response” to any Israeli aggression.

Iran’s ground forces chief Brigadier General Kiomars Heidari said on Monday that Tehran has developed an advanced long-range suicide drone “designed to hit Israel’s Tel Aviv, Haifa”, the semi-official Mehr news agency reported. read more

The director of Israel’s Mossad spy service, David Barnea, warned Iran’s clerical rulers against “resorting to force against Israel or Israelis”.

“The top Iranian echelon must be aware that resorting to force against Israel or Israelis, directly from Iran or via proxies, will meet a painful response against those responsible – on Iranian soil,” Barnea said in a speech at Reichman University near Tel Aviv on Monday.

“This will happen in Tehran, in Kermanshah, in Isfahan,” he added, referring to areas of Iran where authorities have reported sabotage operations against facilities or personnel linked to the country’s military or nuclear programmes.

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Additional reporting by Dan Williams in Jerusalem; writing by Parisa Hafezi; editing by Philippa Fletcher

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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