Iran’s top nuclear official rejects US call for IAEA’s access to Karaj complex

Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran Mohammad Eslami (R) speaks to reporters upon his arrival in Moscow, Russia, on September 28, 2021. (Photo by IRNA)

Iran has rejected a US call to grant IAEA inspectors access to a nuclear site that was targeted by sabotage, saying Washington was not qualified to take such a stand without condemning the terrorist attack.

"Countries that did not condemn terrorist acts against Iran's nuclear site are not qualified to comment on inspections there," head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Mohammad Eslami said upon his arrival in the Russian capital of Moscow on Tuesday.

Washington was quick to jump on the bandwagon after Rafael Grossi, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, claimed on Sunday that Iran was not fully complying with a September 12 joint agreement by refusing to allow the agency access to the TESA Karaj Complex, a centrifuge component manufacturing workshop in north-central Iran.

Tehran says the site is under security investigation and therefore off-limits to inspection.

According to the joint statement issued following talks between the IAEA chief and Eslami in Tehran, Iran agreed to allow the UN nuclear watchdog to service surveillance equipment installed at Iranian nuclear sites.

The United States said in a statement to the IAEA's Board of Governors on Monday that Iran must stop denying the IAEA access to the Karaj complex or face diplomatic retaliation at the 35-nation body.

Eslami expressed his deep regret that the UN nuclear agency is engaging in “political and selective” behavior under pressure from the US and the Israeli regime.

"They did not condemn the terrorist operation at our nuclear site," he said. "Therefore, their insistence [on inspection of] the sites that have been targeted by terrorist attacks is not accepted and we expect the agency to abide by the law."

The top Iranian nuclear official urged the IAEA to “end its discriminatory and political” attitude toward the Islamic Republic, which has been a member of the agency for 50 years.

The AEOI warned the UN nuclear watchdog that “wrong and spiteful” reports would disrupt constructive cooperation between Iran and the agency.

“It is imperative that officials with the International Atomic Energy Agency avoid taking political stances that seek certain purposes and stop [presenting] wrong and spiteful reports in order not to damage the constructive process created following recent interactions between Iran and the IAEA,” said Behrouz Kamalvandi, the organization’s spokesman.

Kazem Gharibabadi, Iran’s ambassador to international organizations in Vienna, also criticized the IAEA and the European troika (E3) on Monday for keeping silent on the Israeli regime’s terrorist activities while calling on Tehran to continue cooperating with the UN agency.

Iran seeks enhanced nuclear cooperation with Russia

In Moscow, Eslami said Iran and Russia have strategic ties on various fronts, expressing Tehran’s willingness to improve and accelerate cooperation in the field of nuclear energy.

He added that he would hold talks with Russian officials on ways to revive the multilateral 2015 nuclear agreement, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which was abandoned by the US in 2018.

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