IAEA Acting Director-General Cornel Feruta delivers a report on Safeguards matters in Iran at IAEA Board of Governors meeting, Vienna, Austria. November 7, 2019. (Dean Calma/IAEA)

IAEA Governing Body Meets Amid Row Over Iran Nuclear Program

The UN nuclear watchdog’s governing body on Monday convened amid a major dispute with Iran due to its refusal to grant inspectors access to two sites where the Islamic Republic is believed to have conducted nuclear-related tests. The International Atomic Energy Agency earlier this month released a report expressing “serious concern” over Tehran’s stonewalling of the agency and the organization could pass a resolution condemning the country for the first time since 2012. For its part, Iran claimed that the IAEA’s inquiries were based on “fabricated information.” In this respect, much of the evidence in question was reportedly acquired by Israel’s Mossad spy agency during a raid on a warehouse in Tehran where traces of uranium were discovered in addition to thousands of documents allegedly proving that Iran had at the beginning of the millennium engaged in activities geared toward the development of nuclear weapons. Over the past year, Iran has progressively reduced its commitments to the landmark 2015 nuclear deal, with the IAEA having reported that the nation’s stockpile of enriched uranium is now almost eight times the limit fixed in the accord. According to analysts, the standoff with the IAEA could further complicate efforts by the remaining parties to the nuclear agreement – namely, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China – to salvage the pact, from which President Donald Trump withdrew the US in May 2018. It also comes on the backdrop of a contentious push by Washington to extend a UN arms embargo on Tehran set to expire in October in accordance with the 2015 deal.

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