On Monday, the EU asked Iran to grant UN inspectors access to a nuclear site, despite Tehran’s claims that the facility was exempt from a previous agreement with the UN monitor.
In violation of a September 12 agreement with Iran, the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) stated on Sunday that it had been denied “indispensable” access to the TESA Karaj centrifuge component production workshop near Tehran.
On Monday, Iran’s envoy to the International Atomic Energy Agency, Kazem Gharibabadi, denied the claim on Twitter.
“During the discussions in Tehran and Vienna, Iran indicated that… equipment related to this Complex are not included for servicing,” he wrote, referring to IAEA work on its surveillance equipment.
Sunday’s IAEA statement “isn’t accurate and goes beyond the agreed terms,” he added.
The EU said it asked Iran to give access “without further delay” during a Vienna meeting of the IAEA board of governors, expressing its “deepest concern.”
“This is a worrying development,” the statement said.
The IAEA and Iran reached an agreement this month, only days after the nuclear watchdog blasted Tehran’s lack of cooperation.
The IAEA said on Sunday that inspectors were authorised to maintain monitoring and surveillance equipment and replace storage media at “all required locations” except the TESA Karaj workshop.
In his most recent report on Iran, IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi reminded member states that the Islamic republic had allowed all other access from September 20 to 22.
The IAEA’s new assessment comes amid delayed EU-brokered talks to resurrect a historic 2015 accord limiting Iran’s nuclear programme in exchange for respite from sanctions.
When the United States withdrew from the agreement in 2018, sanctions were reintroduced. Iran, for its part, has resumed its nuclear programme.
In April, Tehran and the remaining five parties to the 2015 accord met in Vienna to discuss bringing Washington back into the pact.
However, since June, when ultraconservative Ebrahim Raisi won Iran’s presidential election, the discourse has been stopped.
Iran’s foreign minister stated on Friday that discussions would resume “very soon,” but the US has demanded a specific timeline.
“(It’s) important #ViennaTalks resume asap from where we left off on 20 June,” Vienna-based EU Ambassador Stephan Klement wrote on Twitter on Monday.