Haley calls for more nuclear inspections in Iran

U.S. Ambassador says failure to carry out more inspections in Iran would turn nuclear deal into empty promise.

Elad Benari,

Nikki Haley
Nikki Haley

The United States on Thursday pressed the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to carry out more nuclear inspections in Iran, warning that failure to do so would make the nuclear deal with Tehran "an empty promise."

Nikki Haley, the United States Ambassador to the UN, said that some countries were trying to shield Iran from more inspections by the IAEA, which is charged with verifying Tehran's compliance with the 2015 nuclear accord.

"Without inspections, the Iran deal is an empty promise," she said in a statement quoted by AFP.

"If the Iran nuclear deal is to have any meaning, the parties must have a common understanding of its terms," she added.

"Iranian officials have already said they will refuse to allow inspections at military sites, even though the IAEA says there must be no distinction between military and non-military sites,” Haley said.

"Now it appears that some countries are attempting to shield Iran from even more inspections."

Although Haley named no countries, diplomatic sources said she was referring to Russia.

The U.S. Ambassador recently asked the IAEA to seek access to Iranian military bases to ensure that they were not concealing activities banned by the 2015 deal. Iran has dismissed the demand as “merely a dream”.

Ten days ago, the head of the Iranian nuclear program, Ali Akbar Salehi, accused Washington of sabotaging the agreement and called on IAEA to resist Washington's "unacceptable demands."

He took particular aim at Haley, who he said had made unjustifiable demands regarding the verification of the nuclear accord. Those demands included IAEA inspections of Iranian military sites.

Washington has been a vocal critic of the Iranian nuclear deal. President Donald Trump, who last week called the deal “an embarrassment” to the U.S. and “one of worst and most one-sided transactions the United States has ever entered into, is due to update Congress by October 15 whether Iran is in compliance with the nuclear deal.

Iranian officials are unfazed by Trump’s criticism and have stressed that if he leaves the agreement, Iran can do so as well.