0141 GMT December 12, 2019
The ministry spokesperson Seyyed Abbas Mousavi made the remarks in an interview on Thursday after the Islamic Republic’s authorities barred a female IAEA inspector, who had tested positive for suspected traces of explosive nitrates, from entering the Natanz uranium enrichment plant in central Iran on October 28, Press TV reported.
“It is imperative for the agency’s inspectors to observe the Islamic Republic of Iran’s regulations as well as the regulations governing our important and vital facilities, because we view it as a right to protect our sensitive centers,” the spokesman noted.
Iran immediately reported the issue to the IAEA and accommodated it with relevant evidence too, he said, adding, “We are awaiting the agency’s response. We hope that the agency has a convincing response.”
If Tehran deems necessary and finds some inspectors, whom the country itself has allowed onto its soil, in default of its laws and regulations or the standing agreements, “it is natural [for the country] to be sensitive, and has to bar their entrance [into its nuclear facilities],” the Iranian official clarified.
According to Iranian Ambassador to the IAEA Kazem Gharibabadi, a detector for explosive nitrates went off when the inspector attempted to enter the enrichment plant.
“The detector’s alarm went off and it was signaling to a specific person,” Gharibabadi said at a special meeting of the IAEA's 35-nation Board of Governors in Vienna on November 7.
Iranian authorities repeated the inspection “again and again, and unfortunately, the results were the same all the way for only that specific inspector,” Gharibabadi said.
He noted that the woman "sneaked out" to the bathroom while officials looked for a female employee to search her. After her return, the alarms did not go off again, but authorities found contamination in the bathroom and later on her empty handbag during a house search, the envoy said.
Gharibabadi, however, noted that the Islamic Republic was entitled not to condone any behavior or action that might be against the safety and security of its nuclear installations.
The IAEA acting director general, Cornel Feruta, said there would be a meeting between the agency’s representatives and Iranian officials in Tehran next week.
The meeting, he added, would discuss what he called the agency’s “detecting natural uranium particles of anthropogenic origin at a location in Iran not declared to the agency”.
“We have continued our interactions with Iran since then, but have not received any additional information and the matter remains unresolved,” Feruta said after taking part in a meeting of the Board of Governors of the IAEA in the Austrian capital, Vienna.
He did not specify the origin of the allegation, but since last April, the US and Israel have been busy making a fuss about unsubstantiated Tel Aviv-sourced allegations about undeclared nuclear activity by Tehran.
Following the meeting, Feruta told reporters that the agency will continue verifying the implementation of the Safeguards Agreement and the Additional Protocol to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in Iran.
He added that cooperation and interactions with Iran on the basis of the Safeguards Agreement have been positive so far "and this issue has been reflected in reports that I have presented to the Board of Governors."
Tehran has rejected allegations leveled against it of undeclared nuclear activity. It has, by the same token, sternly spurned Netanyahu’s claims.
Days after Netanyahu’s allegations, the US announced its withdrawal from the nuclear deal. Washington has also accused Tehran of lack of full cooperation with the IAEA and possible undeclared nuclear activities.
Feruta, meanwhile, pointed to the country’s allowing the volume of its heavy water reservoir to exceed the 130-ton limit, which has been set by Iran’s 2015 nuclear agreement with major world countries.
The Islamic Republic passed the cap and exceeded another limit set by the accord on the purity of its enriched uranium output as part of a set of countermeasures, which Tehran launched in May.
The retaliatory steps are meant as responses to the US’s illegal and unilateral departure from the multi-party deal and its reimposition of sanctions. They are also a reprisal for the European deal partners’ bowing under Washington’s pressure and refusing to uphold Tehran’s business interests as they are contractually obliged.