UN nuclear watchdog ‘disturbed’ by Iran inspection claims

Nuclear Plant

Nuclear Plant

The UN nuclear watchdog head said Thursday he was “disturbed” by inaccurate claims that inspections of Iran’s nuclear facilities will be the responsibility of the Iranians themselves.

“I am disturbed by statements suggesting that the IAEA has given responsibility for nuclear inspections to Iran,” International Atomic Energy Agency chief Yukiya Amano said in a statement.

“Such statements misrepresent the way in which we will undertake this important verification work,” he said.

He said the IAEA’s arrangements with Iran are “technically sound and consistent with our long-established practices. They do not compromise our safeguards standards in any way.”

“The Roadmap (agreement from July) between Iran and the IAEA is a very robust agreement, with strict timelines, which will help us to clarify past and present outstanding issues regarding Iran’s nuclear programme.”

He said the arrangements with Iran were “confidential and I have a legal obligation not to make them public –- the same obligation I have for hundreds of such arrangements made with other IAEA Member States.”

Amano was reacting to a media report on Wednesday, allegedly citing a confidential draft agreement regarding Parchin military base, which suggested that only Iranian inspectors would investigate the site and would provide the IAEA with pictures and video from inside.

– Trusting the IAEA –

Iran is alleged to have carried out explosives tests at Parchin relevant to developing an atomic weapon. The claims are part of a wider IAEA probe into the “possible military dimensions” of Iran’s nuclear programme.

Iran, which agreed a landmark deal with major powers in July to downscale its nuclear activities in exchange for relief from sanctions, denies seeking or ever having sought nuclear weapons, calling the allegations bogus.

Wednesday’s report drew condemnation from Jeb Bush, Republican presidential hopeful who denounced the wider Iran deal as “a farce”.

“Nuclear inspections of state sponsors of terrorism can’t work on the honour system,” he said.

But Ned Price, a spokesman for the White House’s National Security Council, said Washington was “confident in the agency’s technical plans” for its investigation into Iran’s activities.

US State Department spokesman John Kirby said that until the concerns about Iran’s past activities are “adequately addressed by the IAEA, there can be no sanctions relief.”

A Western diplomat in Vienna said he believed the arrangements between Iran and the IAEA regarding Parchin were “still under review.”

“We are very confident in the agency’s ability to do its job,” the diplomat said.

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