Iran’s “very ambitious” nuclear program is moving ahead “very, very fast,” says head of international nuclear watchdog group.
By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News
The head of an international nuclear watchdog group said that pledges from Tehran are not enough in the face of Iran’s rapidly developing nuclear program, warning that continually denying third-party inspectors access to nuclear sites could potentially impact a return to the 2015 nuclear deal.
“They have a very ambitious nuclear program that needs to be verified in the appropriate way,” Rafael Grossi, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), told reporters outside of UN headquarters in New York on Tuesday.
“The program is moving ahead very, very fast and not only ahead, but sideways as well, because it’s growing in ambition and in capacity.”
Calling upon Tehran to grant inspectors the ability to monitor the country’s uranium enrichment sites, Grossi said that simply releasing public statements meant to assure the international community that the program is peaceful is not enough at this stage.
“When it comes to nuclear, good words will not do it. What you need to do is to be transparent and compliant and work with us. We are ready and I hope they will be as well,” he added.
Grossi’s remarks come on the heels of long-stalled nuclear talks between Iran and much of the Western world, which would see Tehran promise to curb its nuclear development efforts in exchange for the lifting of harsh economic sanctions currently crippling the Islamic Republic.
In June 2022, Iran disconnected a number of IAEA cameras monitoring a nuclear site, arguing that the presence of the devices had been a “goodwill gesture” that carried no long-term obligation.
“As of today, the relevant authorities have been instructed to cut off the On-Line Enrichment Monitor and the flow meter cameras of the agency,” the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) said in a statement at the time.
Behrouz Kamalvandi, a spokesman for the AEOI, told state-run TV that the move had occurred because the international community did not appreciate Iran’s transparency around its nuclear program.
“Other measures are being considered and we hope that [the international community] will come to their senses and respond to Iran’s cooperation with cooperation,” he said.