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UN Nuclear Watchdog Demands Full Access To Iran Sites

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director-General Rafael Grossi waits for the beginning of a board of governors meeting at the IAEA headquarters in Vienna, March 9, 2020

The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has called on Iran to provide “prompt access” to locations the international watchdog wants to inspect.

Rafael Grossi in a speech on March 9 to members of the IAEA’s board demanded access to locations suspected of secret activities in Iran’s nuclear program in the past. The locations possibly stored undeclared nuclear material or undertook nuclear-related activities without declaring it to international observers.

"The agency has identified a number of questions related to possible undeclared nuclear material and nuclear-related activities at three locations that have not been declared by Iran," Grossi said, according to his prepared remarks. “The agency sought access to two of the locations. Iran has not provided access to these locations and has not engaged in substantive discussions to clarify the agency's questions.”

In a separate report to members last week, the IAEA had already raised the issue of these suspect locations.

In his speech today, however, Grossi also reiterated that Iran continues to provide access to international inspectors at its active nuclear facilities. Iran had earlier announced it was no longer bound by “any restrictions” of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), or the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement.

“The agency has not observed any changes to Iran’s implementation of its nuclear-related commitments under the JCPOA in connection with this announcement, or in the level of cooperation by Iran in relation to agency verification and monitoring activities under the JCPOA,” Grossi said in prepared remarks.

IAEA has continued regular inspections of Iran’s nuclear sites since the U.S. withdrawal from the JCPOA in May 2018. But after Washington imposed a near total ban on Iran’s crude oil exports in May 2019, Tehran began reducing its commitments under the nuclear deal and increasing the amount of enriched uranium.

With reporting by Reuters