IAEA inspectors Iran

IAEA inspectors at the Natanz facility in Iran. (AP/IRNA, Kazem Ghane)

Under the inspection protocols developed with the IAEA, Iran has the right to vet nuclear inspectors and to refuse entry into the country, the deputy foreign minister said.

Iran has the right to deny nuclear inspectors entry into the country, Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi told Iranian media. The diplomat’s statement was the latest in a series of comments by top Iranian officials emphasizing the limits to the IAEA’s authority to conduct nuclear inspections.

“Any individual, out of IAEA’s Inspection group, who is not approved by the Islamic Republic of Iran cannot enter the country as the agency’s inspector,” Araqchi told the state-controlled Islamic Consultative Assembly News Agency.

The details of the inspection protocols agreed upon by Iran and the IAEA have been shrouded in secrecy. Araqchi, as a member of the Iranian negotiating team, would be privy to these details. What is known is that Iran will receive 24-day advance warning for any inspections. There have also been indications that US citizens will not be allowed to serve as nuclear inspectors and that Iran will be permitted to provide its own soil samples to inspectors.

Parchin site Iran

2004 satellite image of the Parchin military complex, suspected of hosting nuclear facilties. (AP/DigitalGlobe-Institute for Science and International Security)

Iranian officials have also been explicit about their intention not to have nuclear inspections carried out at purportedly conventional military sites. “Tehran will not allow any foreigner to discover Iran’s defensive and missile capabilities by inspecting the country’s military sites,” Defense Minister Hossein Dehghanhe said in late July.

The Foreign Ministry released a statement at the same time, declaring, “Since there has never been nuclear activity at any military site, Iran is certain there will not be any request to inspect such sites.”

The lack of information on the inspection protocols has been a sticking point in Congressional debate over the Iran nuclear deal. IAEA head Yukiyo Amano declined a request by members of the US Congress to provide a copy of the protocols. “Imagine if a country provides me with confidential information…and I do not honor the commitment, no country will share information with us,” he told reporters.

By: Sara Abramowicz, United with Israel

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