Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), Mohammad Eslami

Iran Brands Banned Nuclear Inspectors Political Extremists

Wednesday, 10/04/2023

Iran says the International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors banned from its nuclear sites were political "extremists" as it tried to justify its standing in the way of vital work.

Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), Mohammad Eslami, justified Tehran's recent decision to ban what Director General of the IAEA, Raphael Grossi, said was around one third of the international inspection team, claiming those expelled had a history of "extremist political behavior".

Downplaying the scale, he said it was an "insignificant" number expelled, contradicting the statement by Grossi in which he made a rare public criticism of the regime for its obstructive behavior last month. 

“With today’s decision, Iran has effectively removed about one third of the core group of the Agency’s most experienced inspectors designated for Iran,” Grossi said in a statement, adding that the move "affects in a direct and severe way the ability of the IAEA to effectively conduct its inspections in Iran.”

The public statements by the head of AEOI this week come after the Iranian regime and the International Atomic Energy Agency engaged in a verbal dispute over Tehran's opposition to the appointment of certain French and German inspectors. A statement shortly after, prepared by Britain, France, and Germany, known as the E3, stated that Iran was not adhering to its safeguard obligations.

On September 18, the IAEA, along with the support of the US, Britain, France, and Germany, termed Tehran's decision as “unprecedented unilateral measure,” urging Iran to reconsider it.

Tehran, which repeatedly denies any military intentions in its nuclear program, announced on Wednesday through Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian that there are "new developments" in connection with the JCPOA negotiations. Naser Kanaani, the spokesperson for Iran's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, also stated on Tuesday that Tehran is calling for the return of all parties to the JCPOA.

However, Matthew Miller, the spokesperson for the US State Department, said on Tuesday that “I think we are a long way off from Iran even considering re-entering the JCPOA, given that they just in the past few weeks refused IAEA inspectors. So our policy hasn’t really changed. We’re committed to ensuring that they do not have a nuclear weapon.”

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