Members of the International Atomic Energy Agency, the IAEA, met on Wednesday to discuss Iran’s recent nuclear developments.
The United States called the emergency session a day after Iran announced it had surpassed limits for enriched uranium set out in the 2015 nuclear deal.
“Nuclear extortion” is what the U.S. Ambassador to the IAEA, Jackie Wolcott, accused Tehran of doing by breaching the 2015 nuclear agreement in an effort to gain economic compensation for American sanctions.
Iran hit back, calling the U.S. “economic terrorists” for reimposing the crippling sanctions on the Islamic republic after Washington unilaterally withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action deal a year ago.
“The United States has not only withdrawn from the JCPOA and violated its own commitments but through political and economic pressure prevents international community, states and private entity to implement their commitments towards Iran,” Kazem Gharib Abadi, Iranian IAEA Representative said.
Earlier this week, IAEA investigators confirmed that Iran had exceeded the 300 kilogram limit for stockpiles of low-enriched uranium and the 3.67% purity level included in the agreement.
Tehran rejects accusations by the U.S. that this is a breach to the nuclear accord.
The head of China’s delegation told CGTN that Beijing does not view Iran’s recent moves with concern.
“We should not overreact to the actions taken by Iran because in our view these actions do not incur any proliferation risks, and they do not contravene Iran’s obligations under the forcipes safeguard agreement, and also all the actions they have taken are reversible,” Fu Cong, director-general of Arms Control Department of the Chinese Foreign Ministry said.
Meanwhile, the E3 group, Germany, France and Britain, has been working hard on diplomacy with Iran in an attempt to keep the deal alive.
Iran wants Europe to do more to protect it from Washington’s crippling sanctions.
The E3 countries have even designed a financial scheme known as The Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges or INSTEX to skirt around the U.S. sanctions through a barter type system. The problem is that it’s only operational for humanitarian goods, which aren’t subject to sanctions, so it produced no real relief for Iran.
U.S. sanctions target Iran’s main source of foreign revenue crude oil exports.
Tehran’s latest moves are seen as an attempt to convince the remaining signatories of the JCPOA to provide more relief from those sanctions.
“Iran’s actions fall in line of the remedial clauses incorporated in the JCPOA and are taken in order to restore the long lost balance of the implementation of the commitments under the deal,” Kazem Gharib Abadi, Iranian IAEA Representative said..
Tensions have been mounting with fears this could escalate into all-out war.
Wednesday’s closed-door IAEA meeting is not expected to bring about any consensus.