US/World News

U.N. nuclear watchdog rejects report that Iran will do own inspections               

(JTA) – The International Atomic Energy Agency, which will control inspections of Iran’s nuclear program under the recently finalized agreement, said a report that Iran will conduct its own inspections is inaccurate. The Associated Press reported August 19 on an agreement signed between the IAEA, the nuclear watchdog of the United Nations, and Iran that would let experts and equipment chosen by Iran inspect the Parchin military complex on behalf of the IAEA. Iran has been suspected of nuclear weapons research at Parchin. The Iranian inspectors would then report their findings to the IAEA. But the head of the IAEA said the report “misrepresents” the arrangement, according to Reuters, which did not provide further detail on his denial. The IAEA said it was satisfied with arrangements it had made with Iran concerning inspection of military facilities, Reuters reported. White House National Security Council spokesman Ned Price said the Obama administration supported the arrangement.

The report’s revelation met harsh criticism from Israeli and American opponents of the deal. On August 19, Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz, the government’s point man on Iran, released a bitingly sarcastic response to the report. “One can only wonder if the Iranian inspectors will also have to wait 24 days before being able to visit the site and look for incriminating evidence?” he said, referring to a provision in the original agreement that allows for a 24-day waiting period before international inspections of undeclared sites with suspected nuclear activity.

Under the agreement, the IAEA allows Iran “to employ its own experts and equipment in the search for evidence or activities that it has consistently denied – trying to develop nuclear weapons,” the AP article said. While the document obtained by the AP is a draft of the agreement, one official familiar with its contents told the news service it “doesn’t differ substantially from the final version.”

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