The International Atomic Energy Agency called the decision “deeply regrettable.”
The Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Rafael Grossi, condemned “disproportionate and unprecedented” the expulsion of top UN inspectors from its nuclear facilities. Iran made the decision in response to Western accusations that it was secretly enriching uranium.
Iran informed the IAEA that it had expelled “several experienced inspectors from the Agency”, Grossi said in a statement Saturday. These inspectors were involved in monitoring Tehran’s compliance with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), a 1970 agreement under which signatories without nuclear weapons agreed not to develop them.
While the NPT allows Iran to revoke inspectors’ powers, Grossi called Tehran’s decision “disproportionate and unprecedented”. Although Grossi did not specify how many inspectors had been excluded, he said the decision affected “about a third of the Agency’s core group of most experienced inspectors” in Iran.
“This deeply regrettable decision by Iran is another step in the wrong direction and is an unnecessary blow to already strained relations between the IAEA and Iran. » he said.
Iran’s Foreign Ministry said it expelled the inspectors in response to Western powers’ use of the IAEA. “for their own political objectives”.
This statement apparently referred to an announcement by France, Germany and the United Kingdom that they would maintain sanctions against Iran for its alleged non-compliance with the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, which offered to Tehran a limited relief of sanctions in exchange for a pause in its negotiations. uranium enrichment activities.
Separately, the United States, the United Kingdom and 61 other NPT signatories earlier this week asked Iran to explain the presence of traces of uranium at three undeclared nuclear sites. These traces were discovered by IAEA inspectors late last year. An agency report said some particles were enriched to a purity of 83.3%, just below the 90% threshold required for nuclear weapons use.
Iran has repeatedly denied seeking nuclear weapons and insists its atomic research is strictly peaceful.
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