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Iran criticizes UN nuclear agency for ‘negligence’ on monitoring Israel

Tehran’s envoy to the IAEA tweets that ignoring Israel’s purported nuclear program ‘sends a negative message’ to members of the Non-Proliferation Treaty

Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency Rafael Mariano Grossi, from Argentina, addresses the media during a news conference regarding the agency's monitoring of Iran's nuclear energy program at the International Center in Vienna, Austria,  on June 7, 2021. (AP Photo/Lisa Leutner)
Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency Rafael Mariano Grossi, from Argentina, addresses the media during a news conference regarding the agency's monitoring of Iran's nuclear energy program at the International Center in Vienna, Austria, on June 7, 2021. (AP Photo/Lisa Leutner)

TEHRAN, Iran — Iran on Friday sharply criticized the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency for keeping its eyes trained on the Islamic Republic while ignoring its arch-enemy Israel’s suspected nuclear program.

Israel is widely believed to be the Middle East’s sole nuclear arms possessor, but it has long refused to confirm or deny it has such weapons and — unlike Iran — is not a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

“Silence and negligence about Israel’s nuclear program sends a negative message to the NPT members,” tweeted Kazem Gharibabadi, Iran’s ambassador to the UN agency.

Being an NPT signatory meant “accepting the robust verifications,” while being outside it meant being “free from any obligation and criticism, and even [getting] rewarded,” he wrote. “What is the advantage of being both an NPT member and fully implementing the agency’s safeguards?”

Gharibabadi was reacting to an interview given by IAEA Director-General Rafael Grossi to Energy Intelligence earlier this month.

Asked why the IAEA is so focused on Iran’s nuclear program but not Israel’s, Grossi responded: “Our relation with Israel is based on the one that you have with a country which is not a party to the NPT.”

Iran’s envoy to the International Atomic Energy Agency Kazem Gharibabadi, leaves the Grand Hotel Vienna, where closed-door nuclear talks took place, in Vienna, Austria, on June 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Florian Schroetter)

Iran has been a signatory to the NPT since 1970, the year it came into force, and has always denied it has any ambitions to acquire or manufacture an atomic bomb.

Israel, which has never signed up to the treaty, has repeatedly warned that it will do whatever it takes to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.

The NPT calls on nations “to achieve the cessation of the nuclear arms race and to undertake measures in the direction of nuclear disarmament.”

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