UN nuclear chief urges Iran to allow inspectors

Tuesday, Sep 19, 2023

UNITED NATIONS, United States: The head of the United Nations nuclear watchdog on Monday urged Iran to reconsider its decision to deny access to top UN inspectors, telling AFP that failure to cooperate will carry severe consequences.

The International Atomic Energy Agency said on Saturday that Iran had withdrawn accreditation from several inspectors, a move Teheran described as retaliation for “political abuses” by the United States, France, Germany and Britain.

“We have to ask them to review this decision,” IAEA chief Rafael Grossi said in an interview with AFP. “If they do not cooperate with the IAEA, they will not get what they want: the assurances they want to see, the confirmation they want to see, the approval of the international community.”

Grossi also warned that military activity has been increasing around Ukraine´s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, occupied by Russian forces since March 2022. “Military operations are increasing in the area, my inspectors are telling me that the level of military activity is palpable,” Grossi told AFP. “It´s loud, and it´s getting closer.”

He added: “Every day that passes without a nuclear accident is a good day for us.” Since the start of June, Kyiv´s troops have led a counteroffensive in the area near Zaporizhzhia in the east and south of the country in an attempt to retake territory held by Russia since the start of the invasion in February 2022.