Iran defends decision to block United Nations inspector from nuclear site

Cheryl Sanders
November 9, 2019

While the United States and the European parties argued that the resolution limited any activity in relation to the development of Iranian ballistic missiles, Iran would invoke Paragraph 3 of the annex B of the resolution, arguing that the restrictions were only on ballistic missiles that were capable of carrying nuclear warheads.

Saudi Arabia has affirmed its support and appreciation for the efforts of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and its inspectors' professionalism and high level of transparency.

Uranium enriched up to 5% is used as fuel for nuclear power plants, while 20% enriched uranium is used to fuel research reactors.

Acting IAEA chief Cornel Feruta, who will be succeeded by Argentina's Rafael Grossi next month, called Thursday's board meeting to discuss the incident and Iran's failure to give a convincing explanation for uranium traces found at a site in Tehran.

The current five percent level exceeds the limit set by the accord but is less than the 20 percent Iran had previously operated and far less than the 90 percent level required for a warhead.

Iran was already enriching uranium at another plant in Natanz.

"This is an important decision, the Iranian authorities are taking a new step forward, because with the Fordo site, which has more than 1,000 centrifuges, Iran has just significantly increased its uranium enrichment capacity", said Siavosh Ghazi, an Iran correspondent at FRANCE 24's sister radio station, RFI.

Reuters first reported on Wednesday that Iran had held the IAEA inspector and seized her travel documents in what appears to be the first incident of its kind since Iran's nuclear deal with major powers was struck in 2015. The U.N.'s nuclear watchdog has disputed the claim.

On Wednesday, the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) confirmed media reports that it had prevented an IAEA inspector from examining the Natanz plant.

Tehran's maximum resistance strategy is also aimed at forcing European signatories to the Iran nuclear deal (France, Britain and Germany together with the EU) to keep their promises of compensation for USA sanctions.

The AEO said she was denied entry to the facility on October 28, but it did not say if anything was found among her possessions when she was searched.

"We've announced that, if needed, we will even present the footage of this", he told a news conference, noting that Iran's "bitter experiences" of nuclear sabotage had led to the strict system of checks.

The inspector left Iran on October 30, the memo obtained by Reuters said.

Since the US withdrawal, Iran has progressively scaled back commitments under the accord.

Upon her return, he said, the alarms did not go off again.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has called Iran's treatment of a United Nations nuclear inspector in late October "an outrageous and unwarranted act of intimidation".

Other reports by iNewsToday