Dismissed IAEA inspectors were nationals of countries keeping harsh political stance: Iran's nuclear agency chief

Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran Mohammad Eslami

Iran’s nuclear chief says the country’s decision last month to dismiss a number of inspectors working for the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) was a response to the “harsh political” positions adopted by three European countries.

“We removed inspectors from the list who were nationals of countries that show harsh political behavior toward the Islamic Republic,” said Mohammad Eslami, who leads the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), on Wednesday.

Eslami said the IAEA has some 127 registered inspectors in Iran, of which a very small number of inspectors have been dismissed.

He added that some of the dismissed inspectors have not come to Iran for years.

Iran’s “de-designation” of IAEA inspectors, which was announced by the agency in a statement on September 16, came after the US, Britain, France and Germany issued a call during an IAEA Board of Governors meeting that required Tehran to cooperate immediately with the UN agency on allegedly unsettled issues such as uranium traces found at undeclared sites.

That came, however, after the three European countries announced they will legislate on maintaining a series of ballistic missile sanctions on Iran that had to be lifted this month under a 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

Speaking to reporters after a cabinet session in Tehran on Wednesday, Eslami said the JCPOA had become a one-way deal under which other parties were not willing to fulfill their obligations some five years after the US pulled out of the agreement and left it in limbo. 

“I told him (the IAEA chief) that your interpretation of the deal is not the JCPOA but the ICPOA, [which is] Iran Comprehensive Plan of Action. Since you do not want to carry out your obligations in a ‘joint’ manner, you are pressuring Iran to unilaterally meet its obligations,” he said.

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