print
memri
November 26, 2015 No.
6229

Statements By Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi Indicate: IAEA's PMD Report Is Being Written In Negotiation With Iran, Not Independently

In a November 25, 2015 interview on Iranian television, Iran's deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi said that he recently held talks with IAEA director-general Yukiya Amano on "closing the Possible Military Dimension (PMD) dossier", and the latter filled him in about "some of the points he is to present" in the upcoming IAEA report on this issue. Araghchi noted that he had also spoken with the Americans and Europeans in Vienna, and had understood from them that "they too were heading towards closing the PMD dossier." [1]


Abbas Araghchi (Image: Press TV, Iran)

It should be recalled that Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization and a member of the nuclear negotiation team, said in a June 21, 2015 interview on Iranian television that Iran had "reached understandings with the IAEA" on the PMD issue, and added: "Now there is political backing [of the P5+1], and the [PMD] issue should be resolved." He stated further: ÔÇ£By December 15, [2015], at the end of the year, the issue [of the PMD] should be determined. The IAEA will submit its report to [its] board of governors. It will only submit it. The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action will continue independently of the results of this report. We have reached understandings with the IAEAÔǪ The technical issues are now being resolved in a political framework. They have set a time frame and, God willing, the issue must be resolved by December 15." In response to the interviewers' remark that the IAEA has "a bad record" (in terms of cooperating with Iran), Salehi stated: "In short, they [the IAEA] will be the losers. As I have said, the issue has received political backing. The work of [the IAEA] must be reasonable. They cannot do anything unreasonable. When there is no political backing, they do whatever they want, but now there is political backing, and the issue should be resolved.ÔÇØ[2]  

In a recent news conference, Amano said that that "the report will not be black and white," and that the PMD issue "is an issue that cannot be answered by 'yes' or 'no'".[3]

In his November 25 interview, Araghchi said: "In the next few days our experts will be in contact with the IAEA experts, and if necessary they will bring up additional points. I may also meet with Amano again... They [our experts] told us there were some weak points in the IAEA report and I commented on them. I am optimistic that they will be corrected..."

He added: "I don't think there is any plan behind the scenes to leave the PMD dossier open. We have not received any indications that there is a plan [of this kind] behind the scenes. In any case I provided the Americans and Europeans with the necessary comments."

He stated further: "On December 1, 2015, we expect this report to be published and submitted to the [IAEA] Board of Governors. A special board meeting has been scheduled for December 15, 2015, in which a resolution on the IAEA report will be taken. During this time [until December 15], the P5+1 group will submit a [draft] resolution [to the IAEA Board of Governors] with the objective of  closing the PMD dossier, and [this draft resolution] will come up for a vote in its December 15, 2015 meeting. Also, on December 7, 2015, there will be a meeting of the JCPOA Joint Commission in Vienna, attended by [representatives of] Iran and the P5+1, in which we will discuss the P5+1 [draft] resolution on closing the PMD. We have taken all the necessary steps so that on December 15, 2015, [the IAEA Board of Governors] will resolve to close the PMD dossier and this issue will be put to rest."

According to Araghchi, "if the [IAEA] Board of Governors does not close the PMD dossier, the process of implementing the JCPOA will stop. Hence, the P5+1 must decide between the PMD and the JCPOA... In the past, the P5+1 chose the JCPOA. The [Supreme] Leader [Khamenei]'s letter on Iran's implementation of the nuclear steps [a document published by Khamenei in October 21 detailing 9 additional conditions for Iranian compliance with the JCPOA][4] likewise emphasizes that they must choose between the JCPOA and the PMD."[5]

According to Iran's Press TV news agency, Araghchi said in the same interview: "If Yukiya Amano or the [IAEA's] board of governors will present their report in such a way that it does not meet the stipulated commitments, the Islamic Republic of Iran will also stop [the implementation of] the JCPOA.ÔÇØ[6] In this statement, Araghchi implies that Iran has received commitments that the PMD dossier will be closed.

Araghchi's interview indicates that Iran has been following the writing of the IAEA report and has been submitting comments to the IAEA and the P5+1, and has in fact been exerting constant pressure on Amano and on the P5+1 in order to ensure that the PMD dossier be closed and the report be worded unequivocally and to Iran's complete satisfaction.

It should also be recalled that the inspection of the Parchin military facility, carried out to determine whether Iran's program had military dimensions, consisted of Iran submitting samples that were not collected in the presence of IAEA inspectors and were later submitted to the IAEA, so that their origin cannot be absolutely determined.

As for the steps currently being taken by Iran to comply with the JCPOA, Araghchi clarified that "none of the steps so far taken by Iran in this matter contravenes the [Supreme] Leader's letter...  and, as far as I know, [we] are still in the stage of dismantling the inactive centrifuges." (Both Iranian Atomic Agency Spokesman  Behrouz Kamalvandi and Iranian National Security Council secretary Ali Shamkhani have indeed said that Iran has transferred inactive centrifuges from one facility to another, but no active centrifuges have been dismantled).[7]

 

Endnotes:

[1] ISNA (Iran), November 25, 2015.

[3] Reuters.com, November 26, 2015.

[4] See MEMRI Daily Brief No.65, MEMRI: 'The Emperor Has No Clothes,' October 30, 2015.

[5] ISNA (Iran), November 25, 2015.

[6] Press TV (Iran), November 26, 2015.

[7] Kamalvandi: ISNA (Iran), November 3, 2015; Shamkhani: Fars (Iran), November 10, 2015.