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Hypocrisy of Urging Iran to Cooperate with IAEA

Updated: Sep 30, 2023

In recent times, the United States and the Persian Gulf countries, collectively represented by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), have been fervently urging Iran to fully cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). While this call for adherence to IAEA guidelines may appear to be a principled stance on nuclear non-proliferation, it is essential to scrutinize the historical context and actions that have brought us to this point.

The hypocrisy of these nations' stance becomes evident when we consider that it was the United States itself that forced Iran to increase uranium enrichment after leaving the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

The recent joint statement by the GCC and the US underscores their demand for Iran to fully cooperate with the IAEA. This appeal comes after Iran's decision to bar multiple IAEA inspectors assigned to oversee its nuclear activities, a move that the UN nuclear watchdog chief, Rafael Grossi, described as "disproportionate and unprecedented." However, this stance must be viewed in light of the broader geopolitical context.

It is crucial to recall that it was the US, along with its European allies Britain, France, and Germany, that initiated a call at the IAEA's Board of Governors meeting for Iran to cooperate immediately with the IAEA. This call stemmed from concerns about uranium traces found at undeclared sites in Iran. While concerns about nuclear activities are certainly valid, the United States' role in exacerbating the situation cannot be ignored.

The JCPOA, commonly known as the Iran Nuclear Deal, was an agreement between Iran and several world powers, including the United States, aimed at curbing Iran's nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief. The deal was hailed as a significant diplomatic achievement when it was signed in 2015. Iran had agreed to limit its uranium enrichment activities and grant IAEA inspectors access to its facilities in exchange for relief from crippling economic sanctions.

However, in 2018, the US, under the leadership of former President Donald Trump, unilaterally withdrew from the JCPOA and reimposed harsh sanctions on Iran. This move was widely criticized by the international community, as it not only disrupted the delicate balance achieved through the JCPOA but also forced Iran into a corner. Deprived of the economic benefits it was promised under the deal, Iran found itself under increasing pressure to respond.

It is essential to understand that Iran's decision to increase uranium enrichment and its refusal to cooperate fully with the IAEA must be seen as a direct response to the actions of the US. By abandoning the JCPOA and imposing economic sanctions, the US left Iran with little incentive to continue adhering to the agreement's restrictions on its nuclear program.

In this context, Iran's actions can be interpreted as a means of exerting pressure on the US and its allies to return to the negotiating table and uphold their end of the bargain. It is worth noting that Iran's actions are reversible, contingent on the restoration of sanctions relief and a US return to the JCPOA's terms.

The hypocrisy lies in the fact that the same countries now urging Iran to cooperate with the IAEA were instrumental in creating the conditions that led to Iran's non-compliance. To resolve the current impasse, a diplomatic approach that acknowledges the consequences of past actions and seeks a return to the JCPOA's framework is crucial.


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