U.S. to Iran: Grant inspectors access to workshop or face action at IAEA

A staff member removes the Iranian flag from the stage at the Vienna International Center in Vienna, Austria July 14, 2015. (Reuters)

SULAIMANI (ESTA) — The United States said on Monday that Iran must grant U.N. nuclear watchdog access to a workshop at the TESA Karaj complex as agreed two weeks ago or face diplomatic retaliation at the agency’s Board of Governors withing days.

The International Atomic Energy Agency said on Sunday that Iran had failed to fully honor the terms of a deal struck two weeks ago to allow the watchdog’s inspectors to service monitoring equipment in the country.

The workshop makes parts for centrifuges, machines that enrich uranium, and was targeted by apparent sabotage in June in which one of four IAEA cameras there was destroyed and another was badly damaged, after which Iran removed them, according to Reuters.

TESA Karaj was one of several sites to which Iran agreed to grant IAEA inspectors access to service IAEA monitoring equipment and replace memory cards just as they were due to fill up with data such as camera footage.

The Sept. 12 agreement, reached on the eve of a meeting of the IAEA’s 35-nation Board of Governors, meant Western powers chose not to seek a resolution criticizing Iran at that meeting since the equipment’s memory cards would be replaced just as they were due to fill up.

“We are deeply troubled by Iran’s refusal to provide the IAEA with the needed access to service its monitoring equipment, as was agreed in the September 12 Joint Statement between the IAEA and Iran,” a U.S. statement to the IAEA’s 35-nation Board of Governors said on Monday, Reuters reported.

“We call on Iran to provide the IAEA with needed access without further delay,” the U.S. statement said. “If Iran fails to do so, we will be closely consulting with other board members in the coming days on an appropriate response.”

Iran’s envoy to IAEA said on Monday that the director general’s report isn’t accurate and goes beyond the agreed terms of the joint statement.

“Any decision taken by Iran on monitoring equipment is only based on political rather than legal considerations and the Agency cannot and should not consider it as one of its entitlements,” Kazem Gharibabadi said on Twitter.

A resolution could have killed hopes of resuming wider talks on reviving the Iran nuclear deal, since Iran usually bristles at such moves and its new President Ebrahim Raisi has said it is prepared to return to the negotiating table but not under Western “pressure”.

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