Iran: It's possible to reach a solution with IAEA

Iranian Foreign Minister says “an agreeable solution is possible” for IAEA request for access to two nuclear sites.

Elad Benari ,

Mohammad Javad Zarif
Mohammad Javad Zarif

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Thursday that “an agreeable solution is possible” for the UN nuclear watchdog’s request for access to two nuclear sites in the country, Reuters reported.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) released a report earlier this month in which it expressed "serious concern" that Iran has been blocking inspections at two sites where past nuclear activity may have occurred.

France, Britain and Germany, all parties to Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with major powers, have submitted a draft resolution to the IAEA Board of Governors calling on Iran to stop denying the agency access to the two sites and to cooperate fully with it.

“BoG should not allow JCPOA enemies to jeopardize Iran’s supreme interests. E3 should not be an accessory, after failing own JCPOA duties,” Zarif tweeted. “We’ve nothing to hide. More inspections in Iran over last 5 yrs than in IAEA history. An agreeable solution is possible, but Res will ruin it.”

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA, is the official name of Iran’s multilateral nuclear deal.

If the IAEA resolution is passed, it would raise pressure on Iran to let inspectors into the two sites where the IAEA suspects activities potentially related to developing nuclear weapons were carried out in the early 2000s, long before the deal.

The IAEA has for months been pressing Tehran for information about the kind of activities being carried out at an undeclared site where the uranium particles were found.

While the IAEA has not identified the site in question, it is believed to be the Turquzabad facility which was identified by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu during his address before the UN General Assembly in 2018 as a "secret atomic warehouse."

Iran last week expressed "disappointment" over the IAEA report and said it is ready to resolve any issues with the UN nuclear watchdog.

Even though the two sites in question are not thought to be directly relevant to Iran's current activities, the agency says it needs to know if activities going back almost two decades have been properly declared and all materials accounted for.

Iran has gradually scaled back its compliance with the 2015 deal in response to US President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the agreement in May of 2018.

Iran's stockpile of enriched uranium is now almost eight times the limit fixed in the accord, according to an IAEA assessment published earlier this month.

However, the level of enrichment is still far below what would be needed for a nuclear weapon.