Iran Rejects Snap Inspections of its Nuclear Sites

Iranian official says an IAEA request for inspections of Iran's nuclear sites "hinders efforts" to reach a deal.

Ben Ariel ,

Bushehr nuclear reactor
Bushehr nuclear reactor

An Iranian official on Tuesday rebuked the chief of the UN atomic agency for demanding snap inspections of Iran's nuclear sites, saying the request “hindered efforts” to reach an agreement with world powers, according to The Associated Press (AP).

The United States and five other world powers face an end-of-the-month deadline to reach a framework agreement with Iran on its nuclear program.

Earlier this month Yukiya Amano, the head of the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said Tehran should agree to snap inspections to reassure the international community.

Iran's nuclear spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi said, however, that Amano's comments harm the negotiations. "It would be much better if Amano only talked about the IAEA's seasonal and monthly reports," he was quoted by AP as having said.

Last June, Kamalvandi said Iran may accept snap inspections as part of a final nuclear agreement.

Iran and six world powers are hard at work trying to turn an interim deal into a permanent agreement. Iran committed in the interim deal to limit its uranium enrichment to five percent and is gradually winning access to $4.2 billion of its oil revenues frozen abroad and some other sanctions relief.

Talks to reach a permanent deal have continuously stalled, however, and two previous deadlines for a final deal have been missed.

At a UN Security Council briefing by the Iran sanctions committee Tuesday, French Ambassador Francois Delattre said progress in the negotiations "at this point is not sufficient."

Britain's deputy ambassador Peter Wilson warned that "we will not agree to a bad deal" and said Iran must show greater flexibility and make tough decisions in the days ahead, according to AP.

The talks are to resume Wednesday. Among the unresolved issues meant to be part of an agreement is a ruling by the atomic agency on whether Iran worked on nuclear arms in the past.

On Monday, Amano said that the IAEA has had limited progress in its inquiry into possible military dimensions of Iran's nuclear activities.

Last month, the IAEA reported little progress in its attempts to probe allegations that Iran worked on nuclear arms. The agency already indicated back in November that Iran is refusing to answer questions on the military aspects of its program.