“We have the right to replace inspectors regarding their background and activities,” Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman, Ramin Mehmanparast, said Tuesday, echoing senior nuclear officials who accused the banned inspectors of filing reports “contrary to reality.”
“We insist that the IAEA accomplish its legal activities regarding member states by disregarding political pressure," said Mr. Mehmanparast.
The IAEA report acknowledged that Iran has the right to bar any inspector, but that it “rejects the basis” of the recent ban. The report noted “repeated objection to the designation of experienced inspectors hampers the inspection process.” It further asked Iran to reconsider its January 2007 decision to block 38 inspectors, and four others before that.
“This is typical Iranian hardball tactics, saying ‘Two sides can play tough, what are you going to do about it?’ ” says Shahram Chubin, a Geneva-based Iran expert with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. “I hesitate to say they are reading the letter of the [safeguards] agreement – they are even reading less [and] are certainly not holding to the spirit, which is to have inspectors reassure the agency of what you are doing.”
Iranian officials have warned in recent years that increased scrutiny by the UNSC of its nuclear program, which Tehran says is only to peacefully produce nuclear power, would cause it to reel in cooperation to the minimum required by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).