US calls for action on Iranian nuclear inspector ban

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

VIENNA - The US Wednesday called on members of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna to consider taking action after Iran’s repeated refusal to admit certain IAEA nuclear inspectors.

IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano wrote in a new report earlier this month that Tehran’s decisions to deny entry to the inspectors in question was hampering his agency’s probe into Iran’s nuclear programme.

US envoy Glyn Davies told the IAEA governing board that “it is unprecedented for a state to reject inspectors because they report accurately to the director general what they see and what they hear.”

Iran’s most recent blacklisting of two so-called safeguards inspectors came after a report in May in which Amano reported that some nuclear equipment had gone missing in the country. Officially, Tehran said it was banning the experts because this information in the report had been leaked to media.

In a joint statement, Britain, France, and Germany said, “The Iranian authorities are clearly attempting to intimidate the agency so as to influence its ability to report to the board and undermine its ability to effectively implement the safeguards regime in its territory.”

IAEA member countries have the right to reject individual inspectors, but the board can take action - for example by issuing a resolution - if such rejections amount to obstruction of nuclear investigations.

The IAEA has been struggling in recent years to get information from Iran on new nuclear projects and on possible past nuclear weapons development projects. The country denies that it has any intention to make such arms.

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