21 June 2010
Iran has barred two inspectors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) from entering the country, claiming they had filed a "false" report about Tehran's nuclear program. The head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, Ali Akbar Salehi, said the two inspectors had also leaked information about Iran’s nuclear program before it was due to be officially announced. "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," he was quoted by the news agency ISNA as saying. Salehi also announced that Iran had developed a reactor “similar” to the research reactor in Tehran.
Information about the names and nationalities of the two persons in question was not revealed. Iran's action against the inspectors comes days after the UN Security Council imposed a fourth set of sanctions on Tehran, and the United States and the European Union took further unilateral steps against Iran.
In their latest report the IAEA inspectors had raised fresh doubts about the true nature of Iran's nuclear program. The report said Tehran was preparing extra equipment to enrich uranium to higher levels and also continued to stockpile nuclear material.
In January, Iran told the IAEA it had carried out pyro-processing experiments, prompting a request from the agency for more information, but then backtracked in March and denied conducting any such activities. IAEA experts in May revisited the site in Tehran only to find out that the electrochemical cell had been "removed" from the unit used in the experiments, according to the report. Authorities in Tehran claimed they had not removed any equipment from the laboratory and that the experiment was not related to pyro-processing, a procedure that can be used to purify uranium metal used in nuclear warheads.
"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 (…) We requested that these two inspectors do not come to Iran and be replaced with two others," Salehi said.
Observers expect Iran will take more such actions in retaliation for the sanctions.
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