This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.
The head of the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog has demanded that Iran stop blocking its investigation into three possible nuclear sites.
Speaking in Vienna on March 9, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief Rafael Grossi told the nuclear watchdog’s governing board that Iran should “cooperate immediately and fully with the agency.”
Grossi said Tehran’s cooperation should include “providing prompt access to the locations specified” by the IAEA.
Grossi said in February that Tehran is refusing to answer questions about three locations where nuclear material may have been used or stored before Iran concluded its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers.
Grossi said that without Tehran’s cooperation, it will be difficult for the IAEA to confirm whether or not Iran has declared all of its nuclear materials.
Speaking to journalists after the March 9 meeting, Grossi said: “This is a serious matter.”
Iran’s diplomatic mission in Vienna said last week that Tehran did not allow the visits because the IAEA’s probe is based on fabricated information that Israel claims it has smuggled out of Iran.
But the Iranian mission in Vienna said Tehran is “ready to enter into a political dialogue” with the IAEA on the issue.
But Grossi on March 9 rejected the Iranian statement.
He said the IAEA only requests access based on information that has been validated in a painstaking, scientific process.
He said the IAEA “never” takes any information at face value.
“What we need is access” rather than political talks, Grossi said.
Grossi also said on March 9 that Iran has so far not implemented its January announcement that it would abandon all provisions in the nuclear accord, which is meant to prevent Iran from building nuclear weapons.
The United States abandoned the nuclear deal with Iran in 2018 and has reimposed crippling economic sanctions on Iran.