Iran dismisses Saudi claims over safety at Bushehr plant

March 10, 2020 - 11:22

TEHRAN — Kazem Gharibabadi, Iran's ambassador to the Vienna-based international organizations, has dismissed Saudi Arabia’s claims about safety standards at Iran’s Bushehr power plant.

Speaking at a meeting of the IAEA Board of Governors on Monday, Gharibabadi warne against attempts at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to politicize technical issues.

He described the Saudi envoy’s allegations as “too far from reality and highly misleading.”

“The problem arises when technical issues turn political,” he added, according to Press TV.

Riyadh had in the past claimed that potential radioactive leakage from the nuclear power plant could endanger the Persian Gulf region, including the kingdom’s air, food and water desalination stations.

The Bushehr facility sits 17 kilometers southeast of the port city of Bushehr along the Persian Gulf.

The Iranian diplomat further outlined the safety status of the 1,000-megawatt Bushehr power plant — the first operational nuclear facility in Iran constructed by Russia’s Atomstroyexport company.

He said Iran, as a state receiving technical assistance from the Agency, recognizes the importance of such support in strengthening its national nuclear safety infrastructure.

Gharibabadi underlined that the IAEA had conducted an “Integrated Regulatory Review Service” mission at the Bushehr plant in February and March 2020, which was assessed as satisfactory.

The IAEA delegation “concluded that Iran’s nuclear safety system has the competence, capacity, and capability to monitor nuclear power activities,” he said.

Unlike Iran, Saudi Arabia, as a newcomer, has been developing and advancing a “non-transparent” nuclear program, said Gharibabadi. 

“It should be emphasized that the main responsibility in the area of nuclear safety lies with the member state itself and this is not a commodity that could be imported.”

He further referred to Saudi plans to dig a canal along the border with Qatar, part of which will reportedly serve as a nuclear waste facility.

Saudi Arabia is “adopting an irresponsible approach towards not only its own people and environment, but also the safety of the region and its neighbors,” the ambassador pointed out.

The Iranian diplomat also pointed to the construction of two nuclear power reactors in Saudi Arabia, calling on the kingdom to provide the IAEA with a “transparent” and “comprehensive” plan on ensuring nuclear safety at the facilities.

He also urged foreign service providers to Saudi Arabia to guarantee that the kingdom would meet the highest levels of environmental and safety requirements.

Earlier this month, Gharibabadi said Iran is countering a “bad and dangerous precedent” in the IAEA which tries to “give credibility to fake reports by spy services” run by the U.S. and Israel.

“Unfortunately, once again the United States and the regime of Israel, by putting pressure on the Agency, are trying to undermine the relations and active and constructive cooperation between Iran and the Agency”  in order to derail the UN body from its professional task, he told reporters on March 3.

Gharibabadi made it clear that any request from the IAEA for additional verification or access on the basis of fake reports of the spy agencies, including the Israeli spy services, not only will be in contradiction to the IAEA’s founding documents and to the verification system but also do not commit Iran to agree to those requests.

“If countries do not take fundamental measures against these plots, their national sovereignty will be undermined,” he warned. 

Iran has repeatedly warned the Agency against attempts by the U.S. under President Donald Trump and Israel — a staunch opponent of diplomacy with Iran — to put pressure on the IAEA with the goal of killing the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), commonly known as the Iran nuclear deal.

MH/PA

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