AFP: Iran has barred two UN inspectors from entering the country after they filed a “false” report about Tehran’s nuclear programme, atomic chief Ali Akbar Salehi was Monday quoted as saying.
By Farhad Pouladi
TEHRAN, June 21, 2010 (AFP) – Iran has barred two UN inspectors from entering the country after they filed a “false” report about Tehran’s nuclear programme, atomic chief Ali Akbar Salehi was Monday quoted as saying.
Salehi, who implements Iran’s nuclear programme, said the two inspectors had also leaked information about the Islamic republic’s atomic work before it was due to be officially announced, the ISNA news agency reported.
The action against the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors comes less than a fortnight after the UN Security Council imposed a fourth set of sanctions on Iran, followed soon after by unilateral punitive measures by the United States and the European Union.
It also comes after the IAEA in its latest report raised fresh doubts about the true nature of Iran’s nuclear programme.
“These two inspectors do not have the right to come to Iran because they leaked information before it was to be officially announced and they also filed a false report,” Salehi was quoted by ISNA as saying.
“In other words because of these two reasons it has led us to (bar) them from coming to Iran,” he said, adding that Iran has asked the IAEA to replace the two inspectors with new officials, who would be allowed to visit the Islamic republic to check its nuclear facilities.
“In the last session of the IAEA board of governors, we told the IAEA that the report filed by the two inspectors was incorrect and we objected to it,” he said.
“The report was totally wrong. Based on the safeguard agreement, we requested that these two inspectors do not come to Iran and be replaced with two others.”
Salehi said the decision is also an attempt to convince Iranian lawmakers that Tehran’s “cooperation with the IAEA will only be within the framework of the safeguard agreement” between Iran and the UN nuclear body.
Influential Iranian lawmaker Alaeddin Borujerdi who heads parliament’s foreign policy commission had last week called for action against the IAEA inspectors.
“These inspectors provided information to media and Iran’s atomic body must stop such violations committed by them,” Borujerdi was quoted as saying by state news agency IRNA.
In its latest report on Iran, the IAEA complained that Tehran is pressing ahead with its contested uranium enrichment activities — despite UN sanctions — and is now producing enriched uranium at even higher levels of purification.
Iran has said that since February it has been enriching uranium to the 20 percent purification level, despite the West’s belief that it does not have the technology to turn that material into fuel rods used to power a reactor.
The IAEA report said the agency remained concerned about the true nature of Iran’s nuclear ambitions.
“Iran has not provided the necessary cooperation to permit the agency to confirm that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities,” IAEA chief Yukiya Amano said at the agency’s board of governors meeting earlier this month.
He also described Iran as a “special case” in terms of the agency’s monitoring, in view of allegations of possible military dimensions to its contested atomic drive.
Amano said that a series of resolutions by the UN Security Council and the IAEA board of governors over the years made it impossible to treat Iran simply like any other member state.
The West accuses Iran of seeking to build a nuclear bomb, a charge that Tehran vehemently denies.
Iran insists its case should be treated as a routine matter by the IAEA, as with any other member state.
On June 9, the UN Security Council imposed a fourth set of sanctions on Iran which were followed by announcements by the United States and the European Union of further unilateral punitive measures.
The broad financial and military restrictions target several Iranian companies, including those linked to the elite Revolutionary Guards.