Iran refused access to nuclear workshop – IAEA

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)

Iran is blocking full monitoring of its nuclear programme, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said late on Sunday.

Iran is denying inspectors from the nuclear watchdog access to a workshop where parts for centrifuges used to enrich uranium are manufactured, an IAEA spokesperson said.

IAEA chief Rafael Grossi reached an agreement with Iran on September 12 that would allow the IAEA to resume maintenance of its monitoring equipment and replace storage media to ensure the agency’s uninterrupted scrutiny of the disputed nuclear programme.

The agreement has been implemented everywhere except at the centrifuge workshop in Karaj, west of Tehran, the IAEA said.

Iran rejected the IAEA chief’s report. It was not accurate and went beyond the terms of the mid-September agreement, according to a tweet by IAEA ambassador Kazem Gharibabadi on Monday.

He said the site mentioned in the report was the Tessa workshop in Karaj, a suburb west of Tehran.

Gharibabadi said the workshop had been shuttered due to sabotage and would remain closed until investigations were complete, which was why equipment there was not included in the agreements in Tehran and Vienna.

There was an incident at the Karaj location in June which damaged IAEA cameras. Iranian media at the time called it a failed act of sabotage.

The expansion of Iran’s enrichment facilities with increasingly powerful centrifuges is a concern for the IAEA and the international community.

The processed uranium has such a high degree of purity that it can be further processed into weapons-grade material relatively quickly.

Iran stopped adhering to the agreed-upon conditions of the 2015 nuclear agreement in 2019 after the US withdrew from the deal. The agreement was intended to make it more difficult for Tehran to develop nuclear weapons.

Negotiations in Vienna to revive the Iran nuclear deal started in April, but were then suspended after the change of government in Iran in June.

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