Tuesday, September 28, 2021

U.N. atomic watchdog says it hasn’t had access to key Iran data since late February

The United Nations’ atomic watchdog hasn’t been able to access data important to monitoring Iran’s nuclear program since late February when the Islamic Republic started restricting international inspections of its facilities, the agency said Monday.

In its May 31 report, obtained by CBS News, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said that it has “not had access” to several key pieces of information since February 23. These include data on Iran’s stockpiles and production of heavy water, “the data and recordings collected” by equipment designed to monitor centrifuges and “the data from [the Agency’s] online enrichment monitors and electronic seals” as well as “the measurement recordings registered by its installed measurement devices.”

Since February, although the IAEA had access to relevant buildings at Iran’s Fordow and Natanz nuclear sites, “it has not been able to perform daily access upon request,” the report said. The most troubling point in the report is that the international watchdog agency has been unable to verify what Iran is doing at some of the sites.

While the IAEA and Iran earlier acknowledged the restrictions limited access to surveillance cameras at Iranian facilities, Monday’s report indicated they went much further. The IAEA acknowledged it could only provide an estimate of Iran’s overall nuclear stockpile as it continues to enrich uranium at its highest level ever.

The watchdog agency was clear about why they were not receiving the information: “Since 23 February 2021, however, the Agency’s verification and monitoring activities have been affected as a result of Iran’s decision to stop the implementation of its nuclear-related commitments under the JCPOA [known as the Iran nuclear deal], including the Additional Protocol.”

Iran started limiting inspections in a bid to put pressure on the government of U.S. President Biden to lift crippling sanctions reimposed after then President Trump pulled out of the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran unilaterally in 2018.

Read the complete article at: CBS News

Also Read: Blinken: Iran Funds ‘Extremist Groups,’ But Biden Wants to Return to Nuclear Deal Anyway

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