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Beware of Tehran’s Nuclear Double Talk Game

On June 8, an overwhelming majority of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s Board of Governors issued a resolution that called on the clerical regime in Iran to come clean about its nuclear ambitions. Almost immediately, while delegations of the BoG member states had not even left Vienna, the regime’s Atomic Energy Organization (AEOI) announced it has removed 27 cameras from sensitive nuclear sites and made clear Tehran does not intend to heed. The statements expressed by the regime’s officials thereafter and the Western response showed that the lesson hasn’t been learned yet.

Even though the IAEA move was anything but an outright condemnation or even close to the punishment of thirty years of deception and concealment, for the regime it was enough to sound the alarms that if it’s not been answered with “countermeasures”, harder times might be ahead.

On June 12, the regime’s parliament held a public session where MPs conducted fiery speeches, slamming the BoG resolution altogether.

“These measures show that the other side is not serious in reaching a good agreement to lift sanctions against the Iranian nation.” Mohammad Bagher Qalibaf, the parliament’s speaker said. “We strongly support the recent technical and legal measures taken by the Atomic Energy Organization in response to the recent oppressive resolution and the unconstructive behavior of its founding countries, and while welcoming the negative vote of Russia and China, we will focus on neutralizing sanctions and moving towards economic prosperity by relying on internal power. This is the most important and strongest response to the enemies and ill-wishers of the proud nation of Iran.”

Hadi Beiginejad, MP from Malayer stated: “The Westerners and the Zionists have set up the Atomic Energy Agency to legitimize their coercion in the unjust order they have created!”

“Despite Iran’s goodwill and cooperation with the IAEA, the Board of Governors issued a resolution against Iran,” Zohreh Elahian, a member of the parliamentary National Security and Foreign Policy Commission said. “Consequently, Iran cut off most of the cameras and increased enrichment. This decisive action by Iran will increase the cost of such political and biased decisions of the IAEA under the influence of international Zionism. The parliamentary security commission finds it necessary to reconsider the nuclear talks.”

Kiumars Sarmadi MP from Assadabad also said: “The recent BoG decision had no legal value and was apparently taken in line with the Zionists’ views. If this approach doesn’t change, we will seriously reconsider how we work with the agency. International terrorists do not have the right to make decisions for international organizations.”

“To gain more concessions from Iran by using the tools of the IAEA, the E3 made a strategic mistake,” another MP, Ali Khezrian said. “Now we must take action by implementing executive measures, stopping the voluntary steps that we took regarding our nuclear activities, and we have to strictly implement the parliamentary law that aimed to lift sanctions. We must respond to the West’s maximalism in a timely manner.”

Another MP, Mohammad Reza Sabbaghian Bafghi went so far as to call for a complete halt of nuclear negotiations. He called on the regime’s president and said: “Mr. Raisi, stop the negotiating for at least two years but do not tie things with the nuclear issue either. I am certain that the United States and the West will reach out to you again for negotiations. As North Korea stood tall, many countries have also had the same experience. India and Pakistan were also sanctioned and they paid the price. They persevered and achieved the results.”

Mohammad Reza Jokar said: “These powers are satisfied with the false evidence they get from some terrorist organizations, such as the hypocrites (the regime’s description for the Mujahedin-e-Khalq Organization), and without consulting the Islamic Republic of Iran, they took this political resolution to the IAEA Board of Governors to pressure on Iran and force it to submit to their conditions which will not happen.”

At the end of the session, 260 members of the regime’s parliament issued a statement that condemned the recent IAEA resolution and stressed the strict implementation of the parliamentary law called the “Strategic Action Law to Lift Sanctions.”

Other state officials did also sing along with the same chorus. Referring to the latest piracy of the IRGC and hijacking of two Greek ships, Shamsollah Seraj, the supreme leader’s representative in Ilam stated: “Once our guys took two Greek ships in the Persian Gulf, we got our oil back. In other words, the Greek Court of Appeals issued an order to release our oil. The world is like a jungle. If you have the power, they will take you into account, so those who said, ‘what are the missiles for or what is the atom for’, now they have to look at where we are. The stronger you are, the more is the world takes you into account. Therefore, I believe that the Atomic Energy Organization should remove more of these cameras because Europe has proven that it is a colony of the United States.”

Meanwhile, Tehran also made sure to communicate in another tone to shield off any decisive action by the international community.

“We hope that the set of measures that have been undertaken to get all parties back to compliance with the so-called JCPOA nuclear deal, our country’s authority, our demands and the people’s expectations are preserved,” said the regime’s Foreign Minister Amir-Abdollahian while addressing the MPs on Sunday.

Despite the blatant rhetoric or the brazen action put on display by the regime, the West doesn’t seem to be moved. According to the London-based Financial Times, a senior US official said Tehran’s action to remove 27 surveillance cameras was a serious blow, but not yet fatal for the deal “because at this point it’s reversible”. But the official warned that the longer the cameras stay off, the harder re-entering the deal would be.

The IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi also said in an interview with CNN that Tehran should resume talks “now” to avoid a crisis that could make it “extremely more difficult” to salvage the 2015 nuclear accord.

During the last two decades, the regime in Iran and its mouthpieces in the West have succeeded to keep the illusion alive, that the world must choose between war or appeasement with Tehran. The double talk in Iran serves the same rationale and those who keep preaching that “cooler heads shall prevail” are waving the olive branch while having the regime’s interests at heart.

If world leaders seriously care about peace and stability in the region, they should start realizing that there are no different voices inside Iran, rather there is one man pulling the strings and he has proven that he only understands one language and one only.

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