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Iran rejects call for Israel recognition, casts doubt on inspections

The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) yesterday unanimously approved the nuclear deal brokered last week. At the same time, Iran rejected Germany’s call to recognise Israel and the country’s defence minister appeared to renege on promises over international inspections.

The agreement between Iran and the P5+1 powers (US, UK, France, Russia, China and Germany) will likely see international sanctions lifted in return for a slowdown in Iranian nuclear development over the next decade. It was approved unanimously yesterday by the 15 members of the UNSC. However, US Ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power commented that Washington retains “profound concerns” over “the instability Iran fuels beyond its nuclear program, from its support for terrorist proxies to repeated threats against Israel.”

Power’s comment came as Iran rejected the contention of Germany’s Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel, who said during a visit to Iran, that Berlin cannot accept Tehran’s questioning Israel’s right to exist. Iranian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Marziyeh Afkham said, “We have totally different views from Germany” on the issue and that, “We quite naturally have our own concerns and views on existing threats, including the Zionist regime’s threats and the roots of the crises in the region.” On Saturday, during a belligerent speech, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei made clear that Tehran will continue to support terror groups such as Hezbollah, describing Israel as a “terrorist, baby-killer government.”

Also yesterday, the semi-official Fars news agency in Iran reported that the country’s Defence Minister Hossein Dehghan said, “Tehran will not allow any foreigner to discover Iran’s defensive and missile capabilities by inspecting the country’s military sites.” This would appear to contradict the terms of last week’s accord, which stipulate that the International Atomic Energy Agency can request access to any site if it has evidence of a possible violation. However, the deal specifies a complex 24-day process from request to inspection, a measure heavily criticised by opponents of the deal as unsatisfactory.