Iranian opposition calls on Western countries to adhere to US sanctions

Hossein Abedini of the National Council of Resistance of Iran said high-ranking Iranian officials had ‘been involved in terrorist plots against the resistance movement.’ (NCRI)
Updated 07 March 2019

Iranian opposition calls on Western countries to adhere to US sanctions

  • European Union urged to act to prevent ‘domestic repression’ imposed by Tehran
  • Regime ‘on a slippery slope toward its demise,’ says National Council of Resistance of Iran

LONDON: Western countries must fully adhere to US sanctions on Iran and punish regime figures involved in terrorism to prevent “domestic repression,” a prominent opposition figure has said.

President Donald Trump last year pulled the US out of the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, imposing tough new sanctions on Tehran. But several European states have set up mechanisms designed to avoid the sanctions and keep the nuclear deal afloat.

Hossein Abedini, of the foreign affairs committee of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), said Western powers need to step up and fully adhere to the US sanctions to stem the suffering of the Iranian people.

“The EU and the international community must join the US in imposing sanctions on Tehran’s oil and gas exports, as well as its ballistic missile program, to prevent its domestic repression and destabilizing activities in the Middle East,” he said.

“The Iranian people and resistance do not want this regime to have any bullets, or sell any barrel of oil, or spend a single dollar of the Iranian nation’s wealth on suppression and terrorism.”

Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security and Revolutionary Guard Corps, along with individuals “engaged in acts of terrorism” should be designated by the EU, Abedini added.

“It is time for the EU to listen to the people of Iran and join the US’ policy of putting maximum pressure on the regime,” he said.

“(The international community must) recognize the rights of the Iranian people to resist and overthrow the religious dictatorship and establish a democratic government.

“This is part of an international campaign throughout Europe by the Iranian resistance to show the real nature of the Iranian regime, which is on a slippery slope toward its demise.”

Since the end of 2017 the Iranian regime has resorted to terrorism against the opposition, Abedini said at a press conference in London.

“High-ranking figures, including ambassadors and foreign ministry and intelligence officials, have been involved in terrorist plots against the resistance movement,” Abedini told Arab News.

Struan Stevenson, the coordinator of the Campaign for Iran Change (CiC) and former Scottish Conservative MEP, was also critical of the EU move to sidestep the sanctions.

“How is it possible that the British, German and French governments are still seeking ways of bypassing sanctions with the Americans so that we can continue in some way to trade with this evil fascist dictatorship,” he said.

“It is very strange that Britain seems to want to trade with this evil regime at the same time as we blacklist Hezbollah, which we know the (Iranian) regime sponsors.”

The British government last week designated Hezbollah’s political wing a terrorist organization, amid a US push to isolate Iran and its proxies.

Iran “loves to fight wars, they are doing this in Syria, as well as in Yemen with the Houthis and in Iraq with the Shi’ite militias. Proxy wars are their favorite mechanism of spreading the Islamic revolution,” Stevenson told Arab News.

“Saudi Arabia seems to be the only country in the Middle East that is prepared to stand up on behalf of the legitimate government of Yemen against the Houthis and their sponsors from Tehran,” he added.

“The situation is not going to be resolved until we can achieve the ousting of the Iranians from Yemen.”

The UK government must adopt a firm policy on Iran based on supporting the Iranian people and their legitimate resistance movement, said a former British supreme court justice.

Lord Clarke of Hampstead, Labour member of the UK House of Lords, pointed to a recent report by Amnesty International which called 2018 “a year of shame” for Iran. The report said that more than 7,000 dissidents were arrested last year in a sweeping crackdown.

“(This) shows that the UK government must go beyond verbal condemnations to take the lead at the UN to secure measures that will hold the regime to account for these atrocities,” Lord Clarke said.

IAEA urges Iran to explain uranium particles at undeclared site

Updated 21 November 2019

IAEA urges Iran to explain uranium particles at undeclared site

  • IAEA said in a report last week that its inspectors had "detected natural uranium particles of anthropogenic origin at a location in Iran

VIENNA: The UN nuclear watchdog on Thursday urged Iran to explain the presence of uranium particles at an undeclared site, as a landmark deal aimed at curbing Tehran's atomic activities threatens to collapse.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said in a report made public last week that its inspectors had "detected natural uranium particles of anthropogenic origin at a location in Iran not declared to the agency".
The agency's acting head Cornel Feruta said IAEA and Iranian officials would meet in Tehran next week to discuss the matter, adding that the UN body had not received any additional information.
"The matter remains unresolved... It is essential that Iran works with the agency to resolve this matter promptly," he told IAEA member states at a meeting of the agency's board of governors.
A diplomatic source told AFP that the IAEA would send a high-ranking technical delegation to Iran next week.
The particles are understood to be the product of uranium which has been mined and undergone initial processing, but not enriched.
While the IAEA has not named the site in question, diplomatic sources have previously said the agency asked Iran about a site in the Turquzabad district of Tehran where Israel has alleged secret atomic activity in the past.
Sources say the IAEA took samples from the site in the spring and that Iran has been slow in providing answers to explain the test results.
The 2015 deal between Iran and world powers has been faltering since last year when the United States pulled out and started to reinstate punishing sanctions on Tehran, leaving the other signatories struggling to salvage the agreement.
Over the past few months, Iran has breached several parts of the deal it signed with the US as well as Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia, in which it committed to scaling back its nuclear programme in exchange for sanctions relief.
But Britain, France and Germany have said they are extremely concerned by Iran's actions in stepping up its uranium enrichment and other breaches.
Enrichment is the process that produces fuel for nuclear power plants but also, in highly extended form, the fissile core for a warhead.
On Monday, the IAEA confirmed Iran's stock of heavy water for reactors has surpassed the 130-tonne limit set under the agreement.
Heavy water is not itself radioactive but is used in nuclear reactors to absorb neutrons from nuclear fission.
Heavy water reactors can be used to produce plutonium for nuclear weapons as an alternative to enriched uranium.
The IAEA has also said one of its inspectors was briefly prevented from leaving Iran, calling her treatment "not acceptable".
Iran has cancelled the inspector's accreditation, saying she triggered a security check at the entrance gate to the Natanz enrichment plant last month.
The IAEA has disputed the Iranian account of the incident, without going into details.