EU, US Urge Iran for Access to IAEA
September 28, 2021
The European Union and the United States urged Iran to allow UN inspectors access to a nuclear site, despite Tehran’s claims that the facility was exempt from a recent agreement with the UN watchdog. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), based in Vienna, said on Sunday that it had been denied “indispensable” access to the TESA Karaj centrifuge component manufacturing workshop near Tehran, in violation of a September 12 agreement with Iran.The charge was refuted by Iran’s ambassador to the IAEA, Kazem Gharibabadi.
He tweeted, “During the discussions in Tehran and Vienna, Iran indicated that…equipment related to this Complex is not included for servicing.” He was referring to IAEA work on the country’s surveillance equipment.
He went on to say that the IAEA statement was “inaccurate” and went beyond the agreed terms.The EU said it urged Iran to allow access “without further delay” at a meeting of the IAEA board of governors in Vienna on Monday, expressing its deepest concern.This is a concerning development.Similarly, the US said it was “deeply troubled” and urged immediate access.
“If Iran fails to do so, we will be closely consulting with other board members on an appropriate response in the coming days,” Louis Bono, the US representative to the IAEA, said.
According to diplomats, discussions of a board of Governors resolution censuring Iran were shelved earlier this month after the IAEA and Tehran agreed on limited but continuing access for the agency. The agreement came just days after the UN nuclear watchdog lamented Tehran’s lack of cooperation.
IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi said in his latest report to members on Iran on Sunday that agency inspectors had been allowed access to “all necessary locations” except the TESA Karaj workshop from September 20-22.The news comes as EU-mediated talks to revive a landmark 2015 agreement limiting Iran’s nuclear programme in exchange for sanctions relief have stalled.
When the United States withdrew from the agreement in 2018, sanctions were reinstated. Iran, for its part, has resumed its nuclear programme. Tehran and the remaining five parties to the 2015 deal began talks in Vienna in April with the goal of bringing Washington back. However, since June, when ultraconservative Ebrahim Raisi won Iran’s presidential election, the dialogue has been stalled.
Iran’s foreign minister stated that talks would resume very soon, but the United States has demanded a specific timeline.