07.03.2024 Author: Viktor Mikhin

Iran: A New US-Israeli Provocation

head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Pejman Shirmardi

In an exclusive interview with Tehran Times, the deputy head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), Pejman Shirmardi, rejected claims that his country’s nuclear program is not fully transparent. “From day one, we have made it clear that our nuclear activities are exclusively peaceful. Every time the IAEA has asked us for clarification, we have given them answers. Nothing has changed. Tell us what part of our nuclear program isn’t transparent, and we will prove that it is. As the leader of the Islamic Revolution once said, ‘The West knows very well that it is lying about our nuclear activities,’” the Iranian said.

Condoning Israel’s Nuclear Policy

Pejman Shirmardi made the remark after IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi, during a summit earlier this month, accused Iran of not being fully transparent about Iran’s relationship with his agency. Even the Western press, however, has picked up on the background to this opinion, writing that the IAEA director general’s reaction is most likely that he chose to ignore Israel’s alarming nuclear threats against the Palestinians in recent months and to shift the focus, as usual, to Iran. Israeli National Heritage Minister Amihai Eliyahu has twice since the beginning of the Gaza war proposed destroying the Strip and the Palestinian civilians living there with nuclear weapons. According to Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova, the Israeli minister’s statements clearly confirm that Israel has nuclear weapons.

“Against the background of Israel’s historical policy of uncertainty about possessing nuclear weapons, these statements not only explicitly confirm the country’s possession of such weapons, but also demonstrate a willingness to seriously consider their use in completely inadequate scenarios,” the diplomat said.

“This is a very serious reason to think about where the extremist representatives of Israel may be led by the realization of their permissiveness in the conditions of virtually unlimited patronage from the West,” she stressed. In this regard, many noted that IAEA inspectors have never attempted to inspect Israel’s nuclear facilities, despite repeated calls from countries in the region that do not feel safe because of the warmongering policies of the Israeli regime and the West behind it.

It should be noted that experts estimate that the Israeli regime has between 200 and 400 nuclear warheads in its arsenal because of its deliberate ambiguity regarding its nuclear policy. It has repeatedly refused inspections of its military nuclear facilities, not to mention its refusal to sign the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). Yet Iran, as a decent and responsible member of the global community, is a party to the NPT and has consistently maintained that its nuclear program is exclusively civilian in nature and subject to the strictest UN oversight in the world. The policy of double standards is crystal clear. When it comes to stopping the proliferation of nuclear weapons, Israel is absolved of responsibility. As a signatory to the NPT, Iran has a peaceful program for energy and medical purposes, yet it is subject to the most stringent inspection program in IAEA history. And it is against the Islamic Republic, not its counterpart, that the West has imposed the most painful sanctions regime. Israel, with hundreds of nuclear warheads, is not subject to any punitive measures. On the contrary, the regime is endlessly rewarded with more military weapons (paid for by US taxpayers), more money, and more diplomatic and political support.

Grossi’s Hypocritical Policy

The policy of hypocrisy and double standards is clearly seen in the behavior of the Western proxy, IAEA Director General Grossi, which was clearly manifested in his repeated statements on inspections of Iran’s peaceful nuclear program. Anytime inspections were conducted in Iran and official reports confirmed Iran’s compliance with its obligations, Grossi spoke in Tehran and said that everything was going on normally, giving no cause for concern. However, upon his return from Iran and after accusations were made against Iran by the West and especially the US, he consistently changed his viewpoint without proper explanation. He began proclaiming Iran to be a violator, accusing it of not following rules that no one seemed to know. A number of media publications, especially Israeli media, mentioned Grossi’s changing narrative after his return from Iran, noting that he suddenly started criticizing the Iranian side, contrary to previous statements, accusing them of violating international rules.

Thus, based on relevant publications in media all over the world, it is clear that Grossi has repeatedly changed his point of view after the inspections in Iran. He, being a supporter of dialog and cooperation, suddenly started accusing Iran of violating the rules without explaining his position in sufficient detail. This raises serious questions about his integrity and objectivity.

This ambivalent behavior has its own underlying causes, which can be interpreted in various ways. Perhaps political or economic factors influenced Grossi to change his position on Iran. He may have been subjected to pressure or manipulation, causing him to change his point of view. In general, Grossi’s dislike of Iranian inspections is based more on political bias than on facts. However, the change in his position after his visit to Tehran raises questions about his true motives and possible reasons for his ambivalent attitude.

The complicated state of relations between the IAEA and Grossi personally with Iran is a relevant and complex issue in today’s geopolitical arena. Although Grossi, as a professional, is supposed to be objective in his assessments, his harsh bias against Iran can be explained by several factors. First, Grossi, as a security and political expert, is aware of the many factors negatively affecting the stability and security of the region. Iran, in his opinion, is playing an active role in the Syrian conflict by supporting the Assad government and engaging in hostilities. In addition, Iran is suspected by the West of developing nuclear weapons, although there is no evidence to that effect. In light of these circumstances, Grossi probably sees Iran as a potential threat to stability in the region. Second, Grossi may likely be influenced by a number of domestic factors that affect his personal beliefs and interests. For example, he may have strong ties to states and regions that have strained relations with Iran. This connection is extremely personal and may be for historical, religious, or commercial reasons. Such ties may make him more likely to deny or exaggerate Iran’s vulnerability. Finally, Grossi, as the person responsible for communicating information and analysis, may face public and political pressures that may affect his objectivity.

However, despite these factors, as a professional, Grossi must constantly strive for objectivity and carefully weigh all facts and arguments. As a result, Grossi’s subsequent analyses and assessments should be based on facts, taking into account a variety of viewpoints and striving for objectivity as an international UN official serving the interests of the world, not just the whims of the United States.

Provocations of the United States and Israel

With the Israeli regime bogged down in Gaza, the Israeli and US intelligence communities are busy planning a new nuclear crisis with Iran that will overshadow the catastrophic humanitarian crisis currently unfolding in the Palestinian enclave. It has been a relatively long time since Iran’s nuclear program last made global headlines. The last instance of constructive diplomacy between Tehran and Washington occurred when the two sides successfully negotiated a deal to exchange prisoners and release Iranian assets frozen in South Korean bank accounts. The deal was a kind of temporary détente, partly aimed at preserving the status quo and preventing escalation. The unexpected operation by Palestinian resistance groups in the Gaza Strip on October 7 and the Israeli atrocities that followed seemed to further set back the already stagnant nuclear diplomacy.

Now things are changing again, but not in the direction of problem-solving, but towards creating a new nuclear crisis, the consequences of which are expected to make the whole drama in Gaza trivial. While there is nothing new in Iran’s nuclear activities, there is a growing trend on Israel’s part to increase diplomatic pressure on Iran ahead of the next meeting of the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency scheduled for March 6. Articles are appearing in the Western media suggesting that Israel, together with the US, is pushing the world toward a new nuclear crisis, this time accusing Iran of enriching uranium to 90 percent, the weapons-grade purity level. By making such dangerous accusations against Tehran, they seek to create a hostile atmosphere with the ultimate goal of censuring Iran at the IAEA Board of Governors meeting.

According to information obtained by the Tehran Times, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has personally approached the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) about the matter, saying he will advance the planned crisis through hype and convince the CIA at some point in the future. Mired in the quagmire of Gaza, Netanyahu feels increasingly isolated domestically and internationally given his disastrous war in the Strip. As the turmoil over Rafah continues to plague Tel Aviv, Netanyahu has floated the idea of igniting a nuclear crisis with Iran, a scheme designed to divert world attention away from Gaza and undermine the Biden administration by portraying it as weak and unable to deal with Iran’s nuclear program.

Whether the Israeli regime will succeed in provoking a global crisis with Iran through machinations remains to be seen. Iran has so far refrained from any strong negative initiatives and, most recently, even expressed hope that the now defunct Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) would come back to life. In addition, Iran has begun preparations for the upcoming visit of IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi to Tehran, during which a number of issues of mutual interest are expected to be addressed. The planned escalation of tensions at the next IAEA Board of Governors meeting, however, could derail ongoing efforts to strengthen nuclear de-escalation.


Viktor Mikhin, corresponding member of RANS, exclusively for the online magazineNew Eastern Outlook

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