BERLIN (Dispatches) -- The head of the United Nations’ atomic energy agency told board members on Monday he is hopeful Iran’s decision to voluntarily let inspectors into two disputed sites could lead to greater trust with Tehran.
Rafael Grossi, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, in late August secured an agreement with Iran to inspect the two sites which it thought the country had stored or used undeclared nuclear material.
The agreement, which came after Grossi personally visited Tehran to meet with Iranian officials, ended a months-long impasse over two locations thought to be from the early 2000s.
"Iran is voluntarily providing the IAEA with access to the two locations specified by the IAEA,” Grossi and Iran’s nuclear agency chief Ali Akbar Salehi said in a joint statement in Tehran last month.
"The IAEA does not have any further questions to Iran and further requests for access to locations other than those declared by Tehran,” the statement said.
Iran had been permitting IAEA inspectors in to current nuclear sites agreed upon in the landmark 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, but had argued the other two sites dated from before the deal so there was no reason to grant access.
The IAEA in March identified the two sites as places where Iran possibly stored and/or used undeclared nuclear material or undertook nuclear-related activities without declaring them to international observers. Grossi told the agency’s board of governors in Vienna that inspectors had already visited one site and would visit another later this month.
"I welcome the agreement between the agency and Iran, which I hope will reinforce cooperation and enhance mutual trust,” he said, according to a copy of his prepared remarks.
Iranian officials have said the country "acknowledges the IAEA’s right for asking legitimate questions, seeking transparency or demand of access for its mission,” but it "also emphasizes its right as a member state to request that the IAEA provide solid evidence and supporting documents and arguments in this regard.”
In the past, the UN nuclear agency has been given access to the sites it has demanded to visit, but after getting all questions sorted out it has raised new controversies later based on "fake” intelligence supplied by the occupying regime of Israel or terrorist groups such as the MKO.
Grossi last month pledged that "the IAEA will not let third countries impact its relations with any other country.”
"I guarantee that there is no influence on the Agency, but there is pressure,” he said, claiming that the organization will not give in to it.
Salehi also said, "It was decided that the agency continue its work professionally and independently and Iran, too, act in the framework of its commitments.”
The official made it clear that Iran would not accept any additional demands beyond its commitments under the 2015 nuclear deal.