EghtesadOnline: Iran has expressed readiness to enter “political talks” with the International Atomic Energy Agency to enhance “mutual understanding” after the United Nations nuclear watchdog issued a report criticizing Iran for what it called less than full cooperation in general and for failing to grant its inspectors access to certain sites of interest.
IAEA issued its regular quarterly report on Tuesday, which showed Iran’s stockpile of low-enriched uranium nearly tripling since November to more than a ton, as Tehran has exceeded key limits of the 2015 nuclear deal in response to renewed American sanctions since Washington pulled out of the accord in May 2018, Financial Tribune reported.
In an extraordinary second report, however, it said Iran has not provided the agency with access to two locations and not clarified the agency's questions related to possible undeclared nuclear material and nuclear-related activities, Reuters reported.
"We have been requesting some information and access from Iran but we haven't been getting the information we require," IAEA Chief Rafael Grossi, who took up his post in December, later told Reuters.
Iran's mission to the IAEA said in a statement later that the agency was denied access because it failed to provide any "legally valid and legitimate reason" for its request and the case was based on "fabricated" intelligence.
"Copies of papers presented to Iran by the agency as the basis for its requests are neither authentic nor related to the open-source, but rather claimed by the Israeli regime to have been acquired through a so-called secret operation," the statement said, ISNA reported.
Diplomats who follow IAEA developments say the decision to inspect those sites to take environmental samples was based at least in part on a trove of documents Israel claims its intelligence agents seized in Iran. Israel calls it an "archive" of past activities.
Grossi hoped that Iran would listen to the voice of the international community and assess that it is in its own interest to cooperate with the agency.
"We don't have a political agenda; we simply are requesting them to comply with their obligations. We will be walking towards a crisis [if not]," he said.
The European Union's foreign policy chief also called on Iran to cooperate with the agency in a phone conversation with Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Thursday.
"Spoke by phone with Iranian Foreign Minister @JZarif … Also addressed @iaeaorg latest reports, including need for Iran to continue good cooperation with IAEA by providing all necessary clarifications and access to certain locations. EU support to IAEA as strong as ever," Josep Borrell said in a tweet.
Iran's statement said that the case is not consistent with the agency's Statute, Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement and the Additional Protocol, so it does not entitle the agency to make such requests, nor creates any obligation for Iran to consider such requests.
"The Islamic Republic of Iran does not want to set a bad precedent by giving legitimacy to such alleged information and even believes that this will tarnish the agency's reputation and harm its relations with member states," the mission also said.
According to the statement, the agency has been given complementary access to sites in Iran multiple times, so the case is not simply about allowing access, but about providing transparent reasons for a request of access which have not been presented in the recent case.
The mission stressed in the document once again Iran's determination to continue its cooperation with IAEA in accordance with its obligations.