The nuclear centrifuge assembly complex in Karaj, Iran in May 2019


Iran is blocking access to a new nuclear site by inspectors of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

In December, after months of wrangling, Iran finally agreed that the IAEA could replaced cameras at the Karaj nuclear complex, where parts for uranium centrifuges are made. The complex had been heavily damaged by an explosion, likely overseen by Israel, in June.

But the IAEA says Iran has informed it of a new facility at Isfahan in central Iran, transferring operations from Karaj.

Iran’s ambassador to international organizations in Vienna, Reza Ghaebi, said the IAEA will not have any access to the Isfahan site until there is a resolution in talks over the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

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Ghaebi said manufacture of centrifuge parts “has not started yet” in Isfahan.

The IAEA noted on Monday that inspectors were able to install cameras in Isfahan, where production has not begun. It noted that manufacture of centrifuge rotor tubes have ceased at Karaj.

Iran has withheld all surveillance tapes from the IAEA since February 2021.


Iran has agreed that the IAEA can replace cameras at the Karaj nuclear complex, where parts for uranium centrifuges are made.

The head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, Mohammad Eslami, had declared on Tuesday that the Agency will not have access to Karaj, struck by an explosion in late June. However, Tehran faced censure at the IAEA Board of Governors next week if it did not make some concession.

While allowing the replacement of the four surveillance cameras, Iran reiterated that the videotapes will be be withheld from the IAEA. Since February, Tehran has refused to hand over the tapes of the 24/7 monitoring.

Iran restarted production at Karaj in late August. Components are used in the production of at least 170 advanced centrifuges installed since late August, including at the underground Fordoo nuclear plant.

Eslami and IAEA head Rafael Grossi reportedly reached an accord late Tuesday. “Informed sources” said there is no formal agreement and no signing of a document “at least for now”.

The Russian representative at the Vienna nuclear talks, Mikhail Ulnayov, portrayed the announcement as a contribution to the negotiations, which have made little progress since their resumption two weeks ago.

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The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Rafael Grossi, warned Tuesday that Iran’s restrictions on inspections was leading to only a “very blurred image” of the Iranian nuclear program.

Grossi used an interview with the Associated Press to tell Iran that there is “no way around” the inspections if it wants to be “a respected country in the community of nations”.

If the international community through us, through the IAEA, is not seeing clearly how many centrifuges or what is the capacity that they may have….what you have is a very blurred image.

It will give you the illusion of the real image. But not the real image. This is why this is so important.

Grossi noted that as Iran has suspended compliance with the 2015 nuclear agreement, it has resumed enrichment of 20% uranium and launched a program for a 60% grade, which could potentially be further enhanced for military use.

“There’s no other country other than those making nuclear weapons reaching those high levels,” he said. “I’ve said many times that this doesn’t mean that Iran has a nuclear weapon. But it does mean that this level of enrichment is one that requires an intense verification effort.”

See also European Diplomats — Iran Nuclear Deal Could “Soon Be Empty Shell”

Iran’s agreement with the IAEA expired in June, and the agency says its inspectors have been blocked and harassed. Tehran has said that it cannot allow the inspectors back into the Karaj nuclear complex after it was sabotaged by an explosion — probably overseen by Israel — in late June. This week it added the claim that the attackers used the IAEA’s surveillance camera, a claim that Grossi dismissed as “simply absurd” on Tuesday.

After months of delay, Iran invited Grossi to Tehran talks last month, but the IAEA head said there was no significant advance in the discussions.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh tried to push aside Grossi’s latest remarks, insisting, “I don’t want to go into details but I can anticipate that the two sides reach an understanding soon.”

However, earlier in the day, the head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, Mohammad Eslami, restated a tougher Iranian position. He said IAEA access to Karaj is “unacceptable”.


Iranian officials are trying to sweep aside the assessment of International Atomic Energy Agency head Rafael Grossi that there was no advance in Tehran talks this week over nuclear inspections.

The spokesman for Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, Behrouz Kamalvandi, said the discussions were “incomplete” rather than “inconclusive”.

There were various issues in our talks and there was a lack of time since [Grossi] had travelled to Iran ahead of the [IAEA] Board of Governors meeting, so we couldn’t finalise every issue. We agreed to continue these talks.

Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian declared that an agreement in principle has been reached, telling Chinese counterpart Wang Yi on Wednesday that Iran and the IAEA are seeking to “issue a joint statement at the earliest opportunity”.

A “senior Iranian source” said, “There was disagreement about a few words and phrases…and the Agency did not buckle. The text was therefore not published.” He claimed another meeting will “soon…finalize the text”.

Amir-Abdollahian echoed on Twitter:


International Atomic Energy Agency head Rafael Grossi says there was no advance in Tuesday’s talks over inspections of Iranian nuclear facilities.

Grossi told the 35-member IAEA Board of Governors, at the start of its quarterly meeting, on Wednesday:

Despite my best efforts, these extensive negotiations and deliberations to address Iran’s outstanding safeguards issues, detailed in the two reports, proved inconclusive.

Issues include Iranian harassment of IAEA inspectors, blocking access to facilities such as the Karaj centrifuge complex, and the origin of uranium particles found at several old but undeclared sites.

Grossi warned, “We are close to the point where I would not be able to guarantee continuity of knowledge.”

The IAEA Board is unlikely to consider a resolution criticizing Tehran, however, as the Vienna nuclear talks resume on Monday after five months of stalling by Iran’s Raisi Government.

See also Iran’s Mixed Messages Over Return to Nuclear Talks


International Atomic Energy Agency head Rafael Grossi is meeting Iranian officials in Tehran, seeking to restore the Agency’s access to Iran’s nuclear facilities.

Grossi arrived in the Iranian capital on Monday and met the head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, Mohammad Eslami, on Tuesday.

The IAEA head told reporters, “The agency is seeking to continue and deepen the dialogue with the government of Iran….We agreed to continue our joint work on transparency and this will continue.”

Eslami declared after the discussion, “Some questions were raised based on documents published by our enemies. These questions have now been answered. Tehran is determined to resolve technical issues with the agency without politicizing the matter.”


Iran has now confirmed a meeting in Tehran with International Atomic Energy Agency head Rafael Grossi on November 23.

Grossi will meet Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian and the head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, Mohammad Eslami.

The meetings take place as the IAEA Board of Governors convenes.

ORIGINAL ENTRY, NOV 13: The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency says it is “astonishing” that Iran’s Raisi Government, in office since August, has not been in contact about nuclear activities.

Rafael Grossi told reporters at conference on nuclear security on Friday:

I have not had any contact with this government…that has been there for more than five months. I think that we should have had this contact much earlier….

There’s a long list of things we need to discuss.

Grossly said there had only been “technical conversations” with the head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, Mohammad Eslami.

Grossi has been trying to visit Tehran before the next meeting of the IAEA’s Board of Governors on November 24.

Iran began restricting IAEA inspections in February, withholding the surveillance tapes from nuclear facilities. The agreement with the international organization lapsed in June, and Iranian officials harassed inspectors and prevented maintenance of surveillance equipment and computers, prompting Grossi to visit Tehran in September.

However, Iran then blocked access by IAEA inspectors to the Karaj uranium centrifuge assembly site, citing an attack — reportedly overseen by Israel — on the facility in June.

Grossi’s comments come not only before the IAEA Board of Governors meeting, but also before the scheduled resumption of the Vienna nuclear talks on November 29 after a five-month break.

See also Iran Blocks IAEA Access to Nuclear Site
Iran’s Mixed Messages Over Return to Nuclear Talks