The head of the UN atomic agency said Tuesday that a nuclear agreement being worked on by Iran and six world powers would give his experts the right to push for access to Iranian military sites, The Associated Press reported.
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) head Yukiya Amano spoke as negotiators opened a new round of talks aimed at reaching a deal by the end of June.
Speaking to AP, Amano said Iran specifically agreed to implement what's known as the agency's "Additional Protocol" when it agreed to the outlines of the deal now being worked on.
The protocol would allow the agency's inspectors much more access than they have now to follow up on suspicions of undeclared Iranian nuclear activities or equipment.
"In many other countries from time to time we request access to military sites when we have the reason to, so why not Iran?" said Amano, adding, "If we have a reason to request access, we will do so, and in principle Iran has to accept it."
He further noted that the IAEA can request access, clarification or a "short-notice inspection" anytime "there is any inconsistency (or) abnormality" to what Iran has declared as its nuclear work or assets.
Asked if the Additional Protocol will help in the agency's probe, Amano told AP, "We don't know yet."
"We are not in position to provide an assessment now," he added. Success "depends very much on the pace and level of cooperation from Iran."
Amano’s comments are quite contrary to Iran’s thoughts on the impending deal. While Iran tentatively agreed last month to open its atomic activities to greater scrutiny as part of the deal, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has since set conditions, declaring military sites off limits "to foreigners … under the pretext of inspections."
Top Iranian commander Brig. Gen. Hossein Salami recently reiterated those statements, saying his country will never permit “foreigners” to inspect its military sites.
“Not only will we not grant foreigners the permission to inspect our military sites, we will not even give them permission to think about such a subject,” he said.
Iran has categorically denied reports that it would allow inspectors as part of a final deal, describing them as mere rumors and as wrong interpretations of the understanding reached in early April in Switzerland.
The Islamic Republic has clashed with the West, and particularly the United States, over the interpretation of the framework deal, and took particular exception to an American fact sheet released after the framework deal was reached.
Iran has been insisting that all sanctions be lifted immediately for any agreement with the West to go into effect. The State Department was quick to dismiss this demand.