IAEA Must Have Access To Nuclear Fuel For Australian Submarines - Iranian Envoy

MOSCOW (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 23rd September, 2021) The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) should have timely access to nuclear fuel used for Australia's submarines envisioned in the AUKUS deal, Kazem Gharibabadi, Iran's ambassador to the IAEA, said on Wednesday.

"For Australia, reaching safeguards arrangement with the Agency is of essence. The Agency should have access to the HEU (highly enriched uranium) there at agreed and reasonable time and no excuse is accepted in this regard. The Agency should keep the BoG (board of Governors) informed on this important (issue) regularly," Gharibabadi tweeted.

He noted that countries that were pressuring Iran to stop enriching uranium up to 60%, "which is for humanitarian and peaceful purposes," approved selling nuclear-powered submarines to Australia, which use above 90% HEU fuel.

Gharibabadi affirmed Iran's belief that every IAEA member has the right to pursue its peaceful nuclear program, regardless of the level of enrichment, based on its needs and in line with the safeguards.

At the same time, he urged the United Kingdom and the United States to abandon the "vulgar facade of double standard and hypocrisy" and avoid compromising their obligations stipulated by the non-proliferation treaty "under the pretext of the fabricated so-called strategic concerns."

On September 15, the US and the UK announced a new strategic security partnership with Australia, known as AUKUS, according to which Australia will acquire American nuclear-powered submarines. Some experts have since voiced their concern that this development might trigger a nuclear arms race in the Indo-Pacific region and disrupt the non-proliferation regime.