Israel must be held accountable for assassinating Iranian nuclear scientist: ambassador 

March 6, 2021 - 22:43

TEHRAN – There is evidence suggesting that Israel was behind the assassination of top Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh and that Israel should be held accountable for the crime, Kazem Gharibabadi, Iran's Ambassador and Permanent Representative to international organizations in Vienna, has said. 

Addressing the virtual meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on Friday, Gharibabadi said while Iran remains firmly committed to pursuing a peaceful nuclear program, another Iranian nuclear scientist was assassinated.

“While the Islamic Republic of Iran is strongly committed to pursuing a peaceful nuclear program, another Iranian nuclear scientist was assassinated. There are clear evidences showing that the Israeli regime is behind the heinous assassination of Dr. Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, and should be held accountable for such an inhumane crime,” Gharibabadi said, adding, “Considering the dire implications of such horrific act and dangerous provocations on international peace and security and that terrorism as a serious challenge to the international community requires collective responses, we call upon Member States and the Agency to uphold their obligations under international law in fighting terrorism and condemn such inhumane act in the strongest terms. It also should be reminded that the Islamic Republic of Iran will not leave such criminal acts unanswered.”

The ambassador pointed to the Israeli belligerent rhetoric against Iran, denouncing the Israeli bellicosity as a violation of the UN Charter. 

“The Israeli regime has recently not only intensified its provocative and warmongering statements against the Islamic Republic of Iran, but also been actively planning to act upon its belligerent threats. During the past 35 days, three Israeli regime’s officials have threatened to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities. Iran’s positions over such threats have been well recorded in the history of the Agency and the United Nations. These threats are in gross violation of Article 2 (4) of the Charter of the United Nations which necessitates an appropriate response from the international community,” Gharibabadi stated.

He noted, “Furthermore, the practice of international organizations has shown that attack or threat of attack is a clear violation of International Law. In its resolutions, the UNGA clearly stated that such military attack ‘constitutes a violation of the Charter of the United Nations’. On the other hand, the IAEA in several decisions and resolutions approved by the General Conference stated that any armed attack on and threat against nuclear facilities devoted to peaceful purposes, constitutes a violation of the principles of the United Nations Charter, international law and the Statute of the Agency. The General Conference also emphasized that all armed attacks against nuclear installations devoted to peaceful purposes should be explicitly prohibited.”

Gharibabadi pointed to a resolution dating back to 1990 that stipulates that attacking a safeguarded nuclear facility would invite intervention by the UN Security Council.

“The General Conference in its resolution 533 of 21 September 1990 recognized that ‘An armed attack on a safeguarded nuclear facility, in operation or under construction, would create a situation in which the United Nations Security Council would have to act immediately in accordance with the provisions of the United Nations Charter',” the ambassador continued. 

He stated, “In view of the past and present Israeli terrorist behavior, these statements and threats constitute matters of extreme gravity that require urgent and resolute response on the part of the Agency. At the very least, the Agency should react to these threats, by unequivocally condemning them and demanding that the said regime abandon its policy of flouting international law and the UN Charter. The Islamic Republic of Iran looks forward to effective preventive measures being taken by the Agency and its peace-seeking Member States against such ruthless remarks. The responsibility for any failure in this respect will lie solely with the Agency and others who indirectly render their support by closing their eyes on these remarks.”

Warning against any Israeli attack, Gharibabadi said Iran would decisively respond to such an attack. 

“At the same time, the Islamic Republic of Iran strongly warns against any adventurism by Israeli regime and reserves its inherent right to self-defense to decisively respond to any threat or wrongful act perpetrated by this regime,” the ambassador asserted.

Gharibabadi also addressed the situation around the 2015 nuclear deal -formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) –, warning that the nuclear deal is now at a critical juncture.

“We are now at a critical juncture in relations with the JCPOA. During the past five years, the Islamic Republic of Iran has proven to be a responsible player by preserving the JCPOA despite all difficulties due to the U.S. withdrawal from the deal. In such circumstances the EU/E3, apart from issuing numerous political statements in support of the deal, failed to comply with their commitments under the JCPOA and remained inactive,” Gharibabadi pointed out. 

According to Gharibabadi, the nuclear steps that Iran has taken since the U.S. withdrew from the JCPOA were remedial and aimed to restore balance to the JCPOA. 

“To bring back the lost balance to the deal, Iran has taken a series of remedial measures, but has always stressed the reversibility of all its measures when all participants return to full implementation of their commitments therein.” 

He explained in detail the logic behind the Iranian parliament passing a nuclear law obligating the government of Hassan Rouhani to stop all verification and monitoring activities beyond Iran’s Safeguards Agreement with the IAEA. 

“Given the circumstances, on 2nd December 2020, after about two and a half years of U.S. withdrawal from the JCPOA and lack of practical actions by the E3/EU in meeting their commitments, Parliament of the Islamic Republic of Iran passed a law entitled ‘Strategic Action to Lift Sanctions and Protect Iranian Nation’s Interests’,” Gharibabadi said, adding, “Article 6 of this law requires the Government, in case of the continuation of non-compliance of the participants of the deal with their commitments regarding the total normalization of the banking relations and removal of all barriers on the export of oil and oil derivatives and return of revenues in two months after the entry into force of the law, to stop the implementation of all verification and monitoring activities beyond Iran’s Safeguards Agreement concluded with the IAEA (CSA), including the voluntary implementation of the Additional Protocol (AP).”

He pointed to the recent deal Iran struck with IAEA chief Rafael Grossi, which ensures the necessary cooperation between Iran and the UN nuclear watchdog for a period of three months. 

Gharibabadi said the deal stipulates that for up to 3 months, Iran will maintain the records of the stored data by monitoring equipment and information about some activities as specified in the Annex of the deal. “Review by the Agency of this data will take place once and if Iran decides, after ceasing all sanctions, to resume its implementation of the relevant nuclear-related commitments, otherwise all collected data will be erased at the end of the third month,” the ambassador said. 

He described the deal as a goodwill gesture from Iran that will boost the opportunity envisioned in the nuclear law. 

“Two-month opportunity envisioned in the Parliament’s law was augmented by this good-will based mutual understanding for up to three more months. Iran, once again, has opened a new window of opportunity, and now the burden of proof is on others to seize it by practically implementing their commitments.” Gharibabadi pointed out. 

According to the ambassador, the Biden administration has not yet taken practical steps to change the previous administration’s policy against Iran despite the fact that this policy has failed.

“While the previous U.S. Administration failed in pursuing maximum pressure policy, the new U.S. administration has yet to take practical measures to alter the path. As our Supreme Leader declared, we will look at the other participants’ deeds not words, and after corroboration of their actions we will also act accordingly and proportionally,” Gharibabadi noted. 

He added, “If the sanctions are all removed at once, we are ready to come back to full implementation at once. It was not Iran who left the negotiating table of the Joint Commission and it is upon those who want to rejoin around the table to take proper practical steps to earn it.”

He also warned about any politically motivated move in the current situation given the ongoing cooperation between Iran and the IAEA, underlining that such a move would negatively affect the current atmosphere. 

“In view of the ongoing and constructive cooperation between Iran and the Agency, any politically motivated move and abusing the Agency for political bargaining chip and misleading it is absolutely destructive,” Gharibabadi remarked.



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