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UN Nuclear Watchdog Says Iran Denying Monitoring Access At 'Indispensable' Site

IAEA Director-General Rafael Grossi (file photo)

Iran has not allowed international inspectors access to a centrifuge-component-manufacturing workshop as agreed under a monitoring deal reached two weeks ago, the UN nuclear watchdog says.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) was denied access to the TESA Karaj centrifuge component manufacturing workshop near Tehran, the agency said in a statement on September 26.

IAEA Director-General Rafael Grossi "reiterates that all of the agency's activities referred to in the joint statement for all identified agency equipment and Iranian facilities and locations are indispensable in order to maintain continuity of knowledge," it said.

Under a September 12 agreement reached with the IAEA, Iran agreed to allow international inspectors to service surveillance cameras at its sensitive nuclear sites and to continue recording there.

The deal averted the agency's 35-nation board of governors issuing a resolution criticizing Iran for stonewalling the IAEA. A resolution could have jeopardized the resumption of talks to restore the 2015 nuclear deal with international powers.

The IAEA said that from September 20-22 Iran permitted inspectors to service monitoring and surveillance equipment and to replace storage media at "all necessary locations," except for the TESA Karaj complex.

The IAEA's latest report comes amid stalled talks between international powers and Iran aimed at reviving the nuclear accord, which was abandoned by former U.S. President Donald Trump in 2018.

The U.S. withdrawal from the accord led to the return of sanctions on Iran. Tehran responded by restarting some of its nuclear activities.

After six rounds of talks this year in Vienna, negotiations were suspended in June when hard-liner Ebrahim Raisi was elected as Iran's new president.

At the UN this week, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said Tehran would return to negotiations "very soon." But the United States responded by saying it wasn't sure what time frame Tehran had in mind.

With reporting by AFP and Reuters
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