Behruz Kamalvandi, spokesman of Iran's atomic energy agency. FILE PHOTO

Iran Says UN Watchdog Has Exposed Sensitive Nuclear Information

10/28/2021

Iran has accused the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) of repeatedly exposing details of its nuclear activities, including through its periodic reports.

"Considering the repeated impact of the publication of Iranian documents, it seems that this is an ongoing trend under the influence of certain countries with certain objectives, part of which is waging psychological warfare," Behrouz Kamalvandi, the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) spokesman said Wednesday in an interview with state broadcaster (IRIB).

Iran in September limited IAEA access to a manufacturing plant at Karaj that was hit in June by sabotage in which IAEA cameras were among damaged equipment. Attacks over many years on Iranian atomic facilities – including one in June on the Natanz enrichment plant – have been widely attributed to Israel, which recently announced a $1.5 billion budget for bombing Iran’s nuclear sites. Israel has also been blamed for killing Iranian nuclear scientists.

Kamalvandi said that details contained in IAEA reports, which are available to IAEA member states and widely leaked to the media, amounted to "a major development or misappropriation." He said Iran’s cooperation with the IAEA would need to be limited unless the agency restricted access to sensitive information.

Iran has been discussing with the European Union prospects for restarting talks in Vienna aimed at reviving Tehran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers. This week Deputy Foreign Minister Ali Bagheri-Kant met with Enrique Mora, the EU's deputy secretary-general for political affairs in Brussels.

Bagheri-Kani said Wednesday Iran had agreed to resume negotiations with the remaining parties to the 2015 agreement, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), by the end of November.

The Vienna talks were suspended in June after six rounds pending the Iranian presidential election and subsequent transition. Since President Ebrahim Raisi assumed office in August Iran has repeatedly promised to resume the talks "soon" without setting a concrete date.

Iran's state media said Wednesday Iran had issued an invitation for direct talks with the European JCPOA signatories – France, Germany and the United Kingdom – in Tehran or in Europe. Reuters quoted a diplomatic source as saying that the Europeans have not received an invitation.

Tehran is reportedly seeking assurances that the United States would not leave a revived JCPOA in the way former president Donald Trump left the deal in 2018 and imposed stringent ‘maximum pressure’ sanctions.

In expanding its nuclear program since 2019 beyond JCPOA limits in response to US sanctions, Iran has gained experience and technical knowledge. It has also replaced older centrifuges, the devices used to enrichment, with more advanced ones barred by the JCPOA, in some cases because of attacks on nuclear sites.

The US State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement Wednesday that “this window” for talks would “not remain open forever as Iran continues to take provocative nuclear steps.”

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