Iran Urges IAEA Chief to Behave Professionally, Not Be Part of Pressure Campaign
By Staff, Agencies
Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran [AEOI] Mohammad Eslami called on the UN nuclear watchdog chief, Rafael Grossi, to keep behaving professionally and not contribute to the pressure campaign against the country.
“We expect the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency [IAEA] to maintain professional behavior and not be part of the pressure campaign against our country,” Eslami said on the sidelines of a cabinet meeting in Tehran on Wednesday.
The remarks came a week after Iran criticized the agency over its confidential report raising concerns over changes to nuclear equipment at the Fordow enrichment plant.
Grossi, in a confidential report last Wednesday, accused Iran of making an undeclared change to the interconnection between the two clusters of advanced machines enriching uranium to up to 60% purity at its Fordow plant.
The accusation came despite a letter sent by Iran to the IAEA back in November, informing the agency of a decision to start enriching uranium to the purity level of 60% at its Fordow nuclear facility.
Moreover, Iran has fitted and launched new centrifuges at two empty halls in Fordow and Natanz nuclear sites. The halls, under Iran’s commitment to the terms of the landmark 2015 nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action [JCPOA], had been vacant but centrifuges have been installed there once again.
Earlier this month, Eslami rejected as “incorrect” the report, which was leaked by the Western media, and said it had its roots in a mistake by an IAEA inspector during a visit to the plant last month.
The Iranian nuclear chief said the country had informed the IAEA of the mistake but the agency decided to publicize the matter, censuring the agency’s behavior as “unprofessional and unacceptable.” He also warned that such practices would harm IAEA’s reputation.
"This is an unprofessional and unacceptable attitude and we hope that this practice will not continue... because this is not acceptable for his reputation and that of the agency," Eslami said.
The US and its European allies issued a joint statement following the leakage of that report, accusing Iran of being inconsistent with its obligations under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty [NPT].
On Tuesday, the IAEA chief reacted to the leakage, saying it was “regrettable” but refusing to take responsibility for it.
“You should ask those who leak. I produce a report, and if somebody leaks it what can I do?” Grossi said during an event in Chatham House in London.
He said the agency has “very stringent measures” in place to protect classified reports, but acknowledged that controlling the flow of information was “challenging.”
“Of course, it is a matter of concern. I don’t have a police force or a confidential commando to make sure that this thing [does not happen] it’s impossible,” he added.
Iran and the agency are also at loggerheads over the IAEA’s ongoing probe into what it terms the presence of uranium particles at undeclared sites in Iran.
Tehran says that the probe is based on forged evidence provided to the IAEA by the ‘Israeli’ regime. It has slammed the agency for adopting a political approach and forsaking its technical mandate.