IAEA Presses Iran for Access to Nuclear Sites

On August 24, Rafael Grossi, the U.N. nuclear watchdog’s chief, arrived in Tehran to press for access to two suspected former nuclear sites. The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) met with top officials, including President Hassan Rouhani, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization (IAEO). “Our conversation today was very constructive. It was agreed that the Agency will carry out its independent and professional responsibilities and Iran will fulfil its legal commitments,” Salehi said after discussions on August 25. 


The U.N. nuclear watchdog and the United States had rebuked Iran for denying access to two suspect sites where it may have used or stored undeclared nuclear material. On June 19, the IAEA Board of Governors passed a resolution, 25 to 2 with seven abstentions, that called on Iran to fully cooperate with an investigation into its past nuclear work after more than a year of stonewalling. The sites and activities in question date from Iran’s weapons program until 2003.



On August 26, the IAEA and Iran released a joint statement which said that Iran agreed to provide the IAEA with access to the two sites and facilitate verification activities. The statement did not specify when access would be granted. The following is the full text. 


Joint Statement by the Director General of the IAEA and the Vice-President of the Islamic Republic of Iran and Head of the AEOI

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the Islamic Republic of Iran (Iran) agreed to further reinforce their cooperation and enhance mutual trust to facilitate the full implementation of Iran’s Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement (CSA) and the Additional Protocol (AP) thereto, which is provisionally applied by Iran since 16 January 2016.

After intensive bilateral consultations, Iran and the IAEA reached an agreement on the resolution of the safeguards implementation issues specified by the IAEA, in good faith. In this regard, Iran is voluntarily providing the IAEA with access to the two locations specified by the IAEA and facilitating the IAEA verification activities to resolve these issues. Dates for the IAEA access and the verification activities have been agreed. The IAEA verification activities will proceed in accordance with the CSA and the AP, and the IAEA’s standard verification practice as implemented for all States with CSAs and APs on equal basis and without discrimination.

In the context of resolution GOV/2015/72 adopted by the Board of Governors on 15 December 2015, the IAEA and Iran recognize that these safeguards implementation issues are exclusively related to nuclear material and activities subject to safeguards under the CSA and the AP.

In this present context, based on analysis of available information to the IAEA, the IAEA does not have further questions to Iran and further requests for access to locations other than those declared by Iran under its CSA and AP.

Both sides recognize the independence, impartiality and professionalism of the IAEA continue to be essential in the fulfilment of its verification activities.

The IAEA will continue to take into consideration Iran’s security concerns, by protecting all safeguards confidential information in accordance with the IAEA’s Statute, the relevant provisions of the CSA and the AP, and the established IAEA confidentiality regime, standards and procedures.

Some of the information in this article was originally published on August 25, 2020.