UN to Iran: Military sites must be monitored

Despite Iran’s claim that an inspection of its military sites for nuclear activity is an unrealistic American “dream,” the IAEA says it’s prescribed by the nuclear deal. 

The top UN official monitoring Iran’s nuclear program on Thursday rejected Tehran’s claim that its military sites were off-limits to inspection, saying his agency needs access to all “relevant locations” if suspicions arise of possible hidden atomic activities.

The comments by International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief Yukiya Amano are significant — his agency is policing the deal capping atomic activities that Iran says are peaceful but the US suspects are a covert pursuit of nuclear arms.

Iran on Tuesday dismissed US demands for the inspection of Iranian military sites by the UN nuclear watchdog, shrugging off a request by America’s ambassador to the UN as only a “dream.”

Iran’s government spokesman Mohammad Bagher Nobakht told reporters that the demand by US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley wasn’t worth any attention. Iran will not accept any inspection of its sites and “especially our military sites,” he said.

President Donald Trump has repeatedly criticized the deal as too soft on Tehran and has left open the option of pulling out of the treaty that Washington and five other world powers agreed to with Iran just over two years ago.

A US pullout could effectively kill the agreement, and lead Iran to quickly ramp up programs that could be used to make weapons.

Amano told The Associated Press that under monitoring conditions accepted by Iran, his agency “has access to (all) locations without making distinctions between military and civilian locations” as it works to ensure that Iran doesn’t have hidden nuclear activities.

Haley, in a statement Thursday, said that if “inspections of Iranian military sites are ‘merely a dream,’ then Iranian compliance … is also a dream.”

Even if Iran accepts such inspections, it is bound to demand stringent concessions.

IAEA experts normally do the work of sweeping equipment and sampling the soil and air at sites they suspect were used for hidden nuclear activities. But in the last known inspection of a military site, the agency allowed Iranian personnel to do that work under limited conditions two years ago at Parchin, a facility where the agency suspects Iranian scientists worked in the past on atomic arms.

Amano’s agency on Thursday noted no violations by Tehran in its latest quarterly Iran monitoring report. At the same time, the report said that the agency continues to hunt for “undeclared nuclear material and activities.”

By: AP and World Israel News Staff