Last Updated: Sun Oct 17, 2010 00:06 am (KSA) 21:06 pm (GMT)

West blasts Iran for IAEA inspector ban

Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (C) visits the Natanz uranium enrichment facilities south of the Tehran in 2008 (File)
Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (C) visits the Natanz uranium enrichment facilities south of the Tehran in 2008 (File)

Western countries on Wednesday condemned Iran for its decision to bar key nuclear inspectors from the country, saying this was a clear attempt to intimidate the U.N. atomic watchdog.

And the United States suggested the 35-member board of the International Atomic Energy Agency should consider taking "appropriate action" against Iran over the matter.

In a joint statement to the IAEA's board of governors, Britain, France and Germany slammed the Islamic republic over its so-called "de-designation" of inspectors.

 The Iranian authorities are clearly trying to intimidate the agency so as to influence its ability to report to the board and undermine its ability to effectively implement the safeguards regime in its territory 
France's ambassador to the IAEA, Florence Mangin

In June, Tehran revoked the permits of two experienced IAEA inspectors, alleging they had made "false" reports to the agency about Iran's nuclear program.

"We wish to draw the board of governors' attention to the seriousness of the 'de-designation' measures against inspectors, about which Iran notified the IAEA on June 10," France's ambassador to the IAEA, Florence Mangin, told the assembly.

"These measures are aimed at officials of the agency who have acquired experience of Iran's nuclear program," Mangin said.

"The Iranian authorities are clearly trying to intimidate the agency so as to influence its ability to report to the board and undermine its ability to effectively implement the safeguards regime in its territory."

Washington's envoy Glyn Davies told the board it was "unprecedented for a state to reject inspectors because they report accurately ... what they see and what they hear.

"To that end, the United States fully supports the IAEA's denunciation of Iran's treatment of certain inspectors, which we consider a clear effort to intimidate inspectors and thereby influence the conclusions of inspectors in Iran."

Davies suggested the board "should consider 'appropriate action'" against Iran because the de-designation of inspectors was "synonymous" with a paragraph in the safeguards agreement that outlawed any attempts by a state to "impede" the IAEA's work.

So far, IAEA chief Yukiya Amano has carefully avoided using the word "impeding", saying only that Tehran's decision to bar experienced inspectors was "hampering" the agency's work.

Iranian ambassador Ali Asghar Soltanieh has nevertheless rejected any such suggestion.

"They're trying to make an issue (out of this)," Soltanieh said earlier this week.

It was Iran's right, under the terms of its safeguards agreement with IAEA, to vet inspectors, he insisted.

Furthermore member states were not obliged to provide a reason for such a decision.

It was "ridiculous" for the agency to complain about the decision to bar just two inspectors when there was a pool of "over 150 inspectors" to draw from, Soltanieh added.

 The only conclusion we can draw is that Iran remains determined to pursue a nuclear program which could provide it with military capabilities 
Mangin

French ambassador Mangin described Amano's latest Iran report -- circulated to board members last week -- as "alarming".

It found that the Islamic republic was pressing ahead with its uranium enrichment despite four rounds of U.N. sanctions, and refusing to answer questions about possible military dimensions to its nuclear program.

"Iran's refusal to fully cooperate with the IAEA and its deliberate attempts to prevent it from carrying out its mandate in Iranian territory are ... troubling and reprehensible," Mangin said.

"The only conclusion we can draw is that Iran remains determined to pursue a nuclear program which could provide it with military capabilities."

She urged Iran to respond to the international community's "openness for dialogue and negotiations and to demonstrate its readiness seriously to engage and to address the substance of our concerns in a sincere manner."

U.S. ambassador Davies said "the choice for Iran's leaders is clear and they have to decide whether they accept their obligations or increasing isolation and the costs that must come with it.

"We hope that Iran will not miss this opportunity to break a nearly eight-year-long stalemate with the international community," Davies said.

Comments »

Post Your Comment »

Social Media »