The uranium centrifuge assembly complex in Karaj, Iran in May 2019
UPDATE, 1745 GMT:
The International Atomic Energy Agency has circulated two confidential reports, ahead of a quarterly meeting of its Board of Governors, detailing obstruction of its nuclear inspections in Iran.
The Agency said Iran has still not granted access promised in a September agreement, including re-installation of surveillance cameras at the Karaj complex.
This is seriously affecting the Agency’s ability to restore continuity of knowledge at the workshop, which has been widely recognised as essential in relation to a return to the JCPOA [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action].
The IAEA added in a second report that Iranian security guards continue to perform “excessively invasive physical searches” of IAEA inspectors.
UPDATE, NOV 17:
Iran has reportedly resumed production of equipment for advanced nuclear centrifuges after blocking access by International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors to the Karaj complex.
“Diplomats familiar with the activities” said Iran renewed the production in late August and has accelerated it since then. One diplomat asserted that Tehran has produced enough parts for 170 centrifuges.
Last week IAEA Rafael Grossi criticized Iranian officials for an “astonishing” failure to invite him to discussions on renewal of the inspections agreement, which lapsed in June. Subsequently, Iran’s Foreign Ministry declared that an invitation had been issued and Grossi would be in Tehran soon.
Far from denying the Wall Street Journal report, Iranian outlets such as Mehr are highlighting it.
UPDATE, SEPT 28:
Iran has continued to defend its blocking of access by International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors to the Karaj uranium centrifuge assembly site.
Atomic Energy Organization spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi said Monday, “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.”
The US delegation to the IAEA said in a statement to the Board of Governors, “We are deeply troubled by Iran’s refusal to provide the IAEA with the needed access to service its monitoring equipment, as was agreed in the September 12 Joint Statement between the IAEA and Iran.”
The US said that if Iran does not comply, “we will be closely consulting with other board members in the coming days on an appropriate response”.
The European Union also called on Iran to grant access “without any further delay”.
Iran’s envoy to the IAEA, Kazem Gharibabadi, tried to shift attention to Israeli attacks on Iranian nuclear personnel and facilities: “The Agency, the US and the European troika must bear in mind that they cannot remain silent on the Israeli regime’s terrorist measures and refuse to stop them and also call for the continuation of monitoring and existence of the Agency’s (IAEA’s) cameras at the facilities affected by the terrorist sabotage.”
UPDATE, SEPT 27:
Iran has blocked access by International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors to the Karaj uranium centrifuge assembly site.
The inspectors were seeking to maintain and fix cameras, pursuant to an agreement between Tehran and the IAEA on September 12.
IAEA head Rafael Grossi confirmed Iran’s refusal of access, saying it violated the deal allowing inspectors to service surveillance equipment and replace memory cards.
The Director General reiterates that all of the agency’s activities referred to in the joint statement for all identified agency equipment and Iranian facilities and locations are indispensable in order to maintain continuity of knowledge.
Grossi said access was granted to all other “necessary locations” between September 20 and 22.
In June, Karaj was struck by an explosion, which Iran blamed on Israel.
Earlier this month, a confidential IAEA report revealed that one surveillance camera was destroyed and a second severely damaged, after they were taken from the site. Iran admitted days later that it had removed several cameras.
Iran’s envoy Kazem Gharibabadi insisted on Twitter that Karaj is not covered by the September 12 agreement because the complex is “still under security and judicial investigations” after June’s explosion.
Therefore, DG's report on Sep 26 isn't accurate and goes beyond the agreed terms of the JS. Any decision taken by Iran on monitoring equipment is only based on political rather than legal considerations and the Agency cannot and should not consider it as one of its entitlements.4
— Gharibabadi (@Gharibabadi) September 26, 2021
ORIGINAL ENTRY, SEPT 16: The International Atomic Energy Agency has criticized “unacceptable” incidents in which Iran’s officials allegedly harassed IAEA inspectors.
Diplomats said female inspectors were subjected to inappropriate searches, including a first case at the Natanz nuclear complex.
On Sunday, the IAEA and Iran announced a limited arrangement for maintenance of monitoring equipment. The statement averted an imminent showdown over Tehran’s restrictions on inspections, which are part of the 2015 nuclear deal between the Islamic Republic and the 5+1 Powers (US, UK, France, Germany, and China).
However, there is no sign that Iran will renew its full agreement with the IAEA, which expired in late June. Under a Parliamentary mandate, Iranian officials are withholding all video of the monitoring and blocking “snap” inspections, and will continue to do so despite Tuesday’s announcement.
Last weekend, the IAEA said Iran’s restrictions had “seriously undermined” the checks that it is not pursuing a nuclear weapons.
The IAEA said in a statement on Wednesday, after the Wall Street Journal reported on the incidents:
In recent months, there have been some incidents related to security checks of Agency inspectors at one Iranian facility.
The Agency immediately and firmly raised this issue with Iran to explain in very clear and unequivocal terms that such security-related incidents involving Agency staff are unacceptable and must not happen again.
Iran has provided explanations related to reinforced security procedures following events at one of their facilities. As a result of this exchange between the Agency and Iran there have been no further incidents.
Iran’s envoy to the IAEA, Kazem Gharibabadi, downplayed any issue of harassment.
Security measures at the nuclear facilities in Iran are, reasonably, tightened. The IAEA inspectors have gradually come up with the new rules and regulations.
— Gharibabadi (@Gharibabadi) September 14, 2021