Iran has firmly rejected any discussions on its undeclared uranium stocks.
The Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Rafael Grossi, told Newsweek that “detailed and technical discussions” are needed over the location of the undeclared uranium.
We need to know what was going on there, we need to know exactly what kind of activities were taking place there, and we need to know if there was material, where is this material now?
Because it hasn’t been declared. This necessitates a very detailed and technical discussion, which was not taking place.
Grossi said the issue is “totally connected” to talks on the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and the 5+1 Powers (US, UK, France, Germany, China, and Russia), including American re-entry and the lifting of US sanctions.
The IAEA found uranium particles in two Iranian sites it inspected last August and September.
But Iran’s permanent representative to international organizations in Vienna, Kazem Gharibabadi, chided Grossi, “Such interviews will only damage the IAEA’s credibility before Iran and Iranians, and will eliminate the chance for the success of the IAEA chief’s next initiatives on the basis of interaction and good faith.”
He warned that the issue could undermine the nuclear deal’s Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action: “We do not need to complicate it with such strange positions.”
Showdown Over Inspections?
Last month Iran limited IAEA inspections of its nuclear facilities with withdrawal from the Additional Protocol of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. “Snap” inspections have been curtailed, and Tehran is withholding surveillance videos from the Agency.
Grossi is scheduled to visit Tehran in early April for high-level talks: “We have some information, we have some hypotheses, and we are going to be putting very clear questions to our Iranian counterparts in order to see whether we can clarify this.”
Gharibabadi dismissed any premise for investigation of undeclared uranium, telling Grossi, “Do not cling to over-two-decade-old allegations as a cover-up to justify your deliberate failure to address important issues of proliferation, including the nuclear dossier of the Israeli regime.”
Grossi broached the topic of undeclared uranium shortly after the traces were found last summer, including in meetings with Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and the head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, Ali Akbar Salehi.
He told Newsweek, “For the public out there, there is one thing — which is what’s going on with the program in Iran….It is something that requires clarification, because, without that, the shadow of the cloud will be looming large over anything we do.”