ABU DHABI: The United Arab Emirates urged Iran on Friday to provide reassurances on the peaceful nature of its nuclear programme after the International Atomic Energy Agency denounced Tehran’s lack of cooperation.

“There are concerns,” said the permanent representative of the UAE to the IAEA, Hamad Al Kaabi.

In response to an AFP question during a press conference on the Emirates’ own nuclear programme, he called on Iran to “closely cooperate with the IAEA” and “provide reassurances to regional and international countries regarding the peacefulness of its nuclear programme”.

The UAE has the first nuclear power plant in the Arab world.

It lies just across the Gulf from Iran which has a nuclear power plant of its own outside the coastal city of Bushehr, as well as a controversial uranium enrichment programme.

Iranian president hits out at US over new sanctions

Kaabi’s statements come after Iran disconnected some IAEA cameras monitoring its nuclear sites this month, shortly after the US and its European allies pushed through a resolution at the UN agency denouncing Tehran’s lack of cooperation.

A 2015 deal with world powers gave Iran relief from sanctions in return for guarantees that it could not develop a nuclear weapon — something Tehran has always denied wanting to do.

The United States unilaterally withdrew from the nuclear agreement in 2018 under then-president Donald Trump, before imposing biting sanctions on the Islamic republic. Iran in turn began reneging on its own commitments.

US President Joe Biden has said he is ready to again embrace the deal so long as Iran also respects its own pledges under it.

Washington’s Secretary of State Antony Blinken in April said the “breakout time” for Iran to develop a nuclear bomb, if it so chooses, is “down to a matter of weeks” after the deal had pushed it beyond a year.

Petrochemical producers

In Tehran, President Ebrahim Raisi on Friday criticised the United States for imposing new sanctions on petrochemical producers in the Islamic republic, amid a deadlock in talks aimed at reviving a nuclear deal.

The US on Thursday sanctioned a network of Iranian petrochemical firms, as well as alleged front companies in China and the United Arab Emirates, accusing them of helping Tehran to circumvent sanctions.

“I am surprised (by the behaviour) of the Americans,” Raisi said, quoted by the official news agency IRNA.

“On the one hand, they send a message in favour of negotiations and agreement, and on the other hand, they lengthen the list of sanctions.

“I don’t understand how this works,” the Iranian president said.

Iran disconnected some International Atomic Energy Agency cameras monitoring its nuclear sites this month, shortly after the US and its European allies pushed through a resolution at the IAEA denouncing Iran’s lack of cooperation.

“The world must give us the right not to trust the United States because they are violating their agreements,” Raisi said.

The 2015 deal gave Iran relief from sanctions in return for guarantees that it could not develop a nuclear weapon — something Tehran has always denied wanting to do.

Published in Dawn,June 18th, 2022

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