By Francois Murphy
VIENNA, Sept 26 (Reuters) – The U.N. nuclear watchdog said on Sunday Iran had failed to fully honour the terms of a deal struck two weeks ago to allow the watchdog’s inspectors to service monitoring equipment in the country.
“The (IAEA) Director General (Rafael Grossi) stresses that Iran‘s decision not to allow agency access to the TESA Karaj centrifuge component manufacturing workshop is contrary to the agreed terms of the joint statement issued on 12 September,” the International Atomic Energy Agency said in a statement.
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 criticising Iran at that meeting since the equipment’s memory cards would be replaced just as they were due to fill up.
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, hardline President Ebrahim Raisi has said it is prepared to return to the negotiating table but not under Western “pressure”.
“During the discussions in Tehran & Vienna, Iran indicated that since Tessa Karaj Complex is still under security and judicial investigations, equipment related to this Complex are not included for servicing. That’s why the phrase “identified equipment” has been used in the “JS,” Gharibabadi said.
“Iran from 20–22 September permitted IAEA inspectors to service identified agency monitoring and surveillance equipment and to replace storage media at all necessary locations in Iran with the exception of the centrifuge component manufacturing workshop at the TESA Karaj complex,” the IAEA statement said further.
That workshop was the victim of apparent sabotage in June in which one of four IAEA cameras there was destroyed. Iran has not returned that camera’s “data storage medium” and the IAEA said in a report this month it had asked Iran to locate it and explain. Under the deal the IAEA was due to replace its cameras.
(Reporting by Francois Murphy; Editing by Pravin Char, Barbara Lewis and Diane Craft)