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International Atomic Energy Agency Chief Visits Israel, Increasing Tensions with Iran

June 4, 2022 (EIRNS)—Tensions in Southwest Asia are spiking ahead of a meeting of the IAEA Board of Governors that convenes in Vienna on June 6. Raising hackles in Tehran is not only the expectation of the plan of Britain, France and Germany (known as the E3) and the U.S. to introduce an anti-Iran resolution in the meeting, but also IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi’s visit to Israel yesterday. The Prime Minister’s Office said that Prime Minister Naftali Bennett warned Grossi that Iran was pushing ahead on developing a nuclear weapon while misleading the world with “false information and lies” to conceal its work, reported the Times of Israel. Bennett stressed the “urgent need” to confront Iran using “all means” to prevent it from acquiring nuclear arms, according to the Prime Minister’s Office. He also called for the IAEA to send Tehran a “clear and unequivocal message” at an upcoming Board of Governors meeting dealing with undeclared Iranian nuclear sites.

“Bennett made it clear that while Israel prefers diplomacy in order to deny Iran the possibility of developing nuclear weapons, it reserves the right to self-defense and to take action against Iran in order to block its nuclear program should the international community not succeed in the relevant timeframe,” the statement said, in a not very veiled reference to Israeli preparations for a military attack on Iran’s nuclear program.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh responded on Twitter late yesterday, referring to Grossi’s meeting with Bennett, “As one of the original signatories to NPT [Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty], Iran calls on all to beware of further erosion of the IAEA's credibility. No one can keep mum on Israel’s clandestine nuclear weapons program and then claim impartiality and talk about Iran's peaceful nuclear activities.”

As for the IAEA Board of Governors meeting, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian warned in a phone call with EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell that Tehran will give a “proportional, effective and immediate” response to any political move by the U.S. and the European troika. Amirabdollahian warned that any political action by the U.S. and the EU3 at the IAEA “will undoubtedly receive the Islamic Republic’s proportional, effective and immediate reaction.”

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