Iran: IAEA chief's visit has nothing to do with US 'snapback'

Iran insists this week's visit by head of UN’s atomic watchdog agency has nothing to do with US “snapback” push.

Elad Benari ,

IAEA headquarters
IAEA headquarters

Iran said Sunday that a visit this week by the head of the UN’s atomic watchdog agency to Tehran has nothing to do with a US push to impose so-called “snapback” sanctions on Iran, The Associated Press reports.

On Saturday, it was announced that International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Rafael Grossi will head to Tehran next week to press Iranian authorities for access to sites where the country is thought to have stored or used undeclared nuclear material.

It comes days after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that Washington started the process to restore all pre-2015 UN sanctions against Iran.

Iran’s official IRNA news agency on Sunday quoted Iran’s envoy to the IAEA, Kazem Gharibadadi, as saying that the visit is “neither related to the snapback mechanism nor the US demand.”

Gharibabadi said the visit by Grossi comes within “the framework of Iran’s invitation.”

“We do not allow others to manage Iran,” he said, adding that Iran’s trust in the IAEA has been “damaged in recent months.”

The IAEA recently released a report in which it expressed "serious concern" that Iran has been blocking inspections at two sites where past nuclear activity may have occurred.

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 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.