Mohammad Khazai

Iran has condemned the International Atomic Energy Agency’s lack of attention to Israel’s atomic activities, accusing the UN nuclear watchdog of discriminatory treatment of Iran.

After the IAEA issued a statement denouncing the lack of progress on Iran’s nuclear file, Mohammad Khazai, Iran’s permanent ambassador to the United Nations, told the UN General Assembly: “The Islamic Republic along with the other members of the Non-Aligned Movement condemn the efforts of some states to influence the activities of the IAEA with a political agenda and [we] call for an end to interference in the activities of the agency.” Iran has held the NAM chairmanship since August 2012.

Khazai added that such actions compromise the credibility of the IAEA and the validity of the NPT, as well as the right of its signatories to develop atomic energy for peaceful purposes.

He condemned the agency’s lack of attention to Israel, saying: “A regime like Israel that has not joined the NPT and has a program outside the nuclear safeguards and that, according to proven documents, has enjoyed nuclear assistance from Western countries such as the U.S., Britain and France, and it has one of the largest nuclear arsenals in the world, which is very concerning, yet the agency makes no remarks about this regime in its report.”

Israel, India and Pakistan are some of the few countries that have not signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty. While India and Pakistan have confirmed their possession of nuclear weapons, Israel has so far refused to make any statements regarding its nuclear capabilities.

Khazai went on to add: “The Islamic Republic is proud to insist on its absolute right to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes and at the same time remains completely committed to its legal commitments.”

Iran has the right to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes under the provisions of the NPT, but the West is concerned that it might channel enrichment toward developing nuclear capabilities for military purposes. Iran has denied having any military ambitions in its nuclear program. However, it has been slapped with heavy U.S. and EU sanctions that have severely strained its economy, causing medical shortages and a steep rise in the price of everyday necessities.