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Iran Lawmaker Accuses IAEA Investigators Of Spying At Natanz Nuclear Facility

Javad Karimi-Qoddousi, a hardliner member of the Iranian Parliament, has accused IAEA investigators of "spying" against Iran. FILE PHOTO.

An ultra-conservative member of Iran's parliament on Tuesday accused the U.N. nuclear watchdog investigators of "spying" and "infiltration" in Iran's nuclear facilities and said the information they collected had contributed to the explosion at Natanz nuclear facility on July 2.

Javad Karimi-Qoddousi made the comments to the Parliament's Mellat News Agency before a meeting of the National Security and Foreign Policy Committee with Intelligence Minister and senior commanders of the Army's Air Defense.

Karimi-Qoddusi is a former commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps, and a member of parliament's influential Commission for National Security and Foreign Policy

Investigators of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) had six times visited the site in Natanz where the explosion occurred, he said and added that "sabotage in Natanz" could have been the result of their "infiltration" and "information gathering" in the area.

Karimi-Qoddousi who is a member of the hardliner Paydari Front did not offer any evidence for the accusation. However, he claimed that [continuation of compliance with] the Additional Protocol to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) is questionable due to what happened in Natanz.

The Additional gives the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors permanent rights to inspect nuclear establishments of its signatories at any time.

Iran has been implementing the Additional Protocol on a voluntary basis since signing the U.N.-sponsored nuclear agreement officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with world powers in 2015.

Since the passing of an IAEA Board of Governors' resolution against Iran, some Iranian officials have threatened to stop the implementation of the NPT. The resolution passed on June 19 criticized Iran for denying access to two sites where undeclared nuclear activities may have been conducted as far back as twenty years ago.

On Sunday Parliament Speaker Mohammad-Baqer Qalibaf also threatened that the Islamic Republic will not allow the IAEA to do whatever they like and to complete the "intelligence and espionage network of hostile countries".

Karimi-Qoddousi has also said that the incident at Natanz had different dimensions which cannot be disclosed to the media due to security considerations.