International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Chief, Rafael Mariano Grossi said due to restrictions his inspectors only get a “very blurred image” from Iran’s nuclear sites.
Grossi said Tehran’s enriched uranium program is closer than ever to weapons-grade levels.
“We have to work together,” Grossi told The Associated Press, adding that he wanted to tell Iran that “there was no way around his inspectors at the International Atomic Energy Agency if the Islamic Republic wanted to be a respected country in the community of nations.”
“They must work together. I will make sure they understand that in us they will have a partner.”
“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,” Grossi said.
“It will give you the illusion of the real image. But not the real image. This is why this is so important,” he added.
Grossi dismissed as “simply absurd” an Iranian allegation that saboteurs used the IAEA’s cameras in the attack on the Karaj centrifuge site. Tehran has offered no evidence to support the claim, though it’s another sign of the friction between inspectors and Iran, he added.
“The reality is that we are dealing with a very different Iran,” he said. “2022 is so different from 2015 that there will have to be adjustments that take into consideration these new realities so our inspectors can inspect whatever the countries agree at the political table.”
“There’s no other country other than those making nuclear weapons reaching those high levels of uranium enrichment,” Grossi said of Iran.
“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.”
Recently, satellite photos obtained by the AP show ongoing construction in the mountain south of Iran’s Natanz nuclear facility.
Grossi said Iran has informed the IAEA about the ongoing construction and his inspectors “are following” progress at the sites.
Grossi visited Iran on 9 December where Tehran allowed the UN nuclear watchdog to service the surveillance cameras installed at Iranian nuclear sites in a bid to ease concerns over Iran’s nuclear activities.
However, Head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, Mohammad Eslami said on Tuesday that the demands by the UN nuclear watchdog IAEA for access to a workshop making centrifuges are beyond nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and unacceptable to Tehran.
He was referring to an installation in Karaj, west of Tehran that was the target of a sabotage attack in June, IAEA monitoring cameras were damaged in the incident and Iran has been refusing access from the UN watchdog to replace the equipment.
“Karaj … is outside of safeguards … We act within the framework of safeguards and (nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty) and do not accept anything else,” Eslami said.
Eslami said that monitoring in the Karaj facility is related to the 2015 nuclear agreement, and when the United States has withdrawn from the agreement and imposed sanctions, Iran has no reason to cooperate.
The IAEA has said that without access to the Karaj facility, it cannot guarantee being fully informed about Iran’s nuclear activities.
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