US slams Iran over IAEA cooperation on nuclear sites

The acting head of the IAEA, Cornel Feruta, shakes hands with Ali Akbar Salehi, director of Iran's nuclear energy agency in Tehran, on Sunday. (Reuters)
Updated 10 September 2019
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US slams Iran over IAEA cooperation on nuclear sites

  • International Atomic Energy Agency has called in recent days on Iran to step up its cooperation
  • US says any potential delay, denial, or deception by Iran must be addressed immediately

WASHINGTON: The United States on Tuesday said it was “totally unacceptable” for Iran to drag its feet in cooperating with the UN nuclear watchdog, which is seeking answers to issues that diplomats say include the discovery of uranium traces at an undeclared site.
The International Atomic Energy Agency, which is policing Iran’s nuclear deal with major powers, has called in recent days on Iran to step up its cooperation, warning “time is of the essence.”
While the watchdog has declined to comment on what prompted the warning, diplomats told Reuters inspectors had found traces of uranium at a site in Iran which Israel has described as a “secret atomic warehouse.”

“Any indication that Iran is providing insufficient cooperation to the IAEA on a matter involving potential undeclared nuclear material or activities raises serious and profound questions,” the US statement to a quarterly IAEA Board of Governors meeting said.
“Iran’s failure to resolve the Agency’s concerns on this matter is completely unacceptable and should be of deep concern to all who support the IAEA and its safeguards verification regime.”
Iran has guaranteed the IAEA access to its nuclear program as part of a 2015 deal with world powers under which Tehran accepted curbs on its atomic activities in return for access to world trade.
The United States withdrew from the agreement last year and imposed sanctions on Iran with the aim of halting its oil exports and forcing Tehran to negotiate a more sweeping “comprehensive deal.”
Iran has said it will negotiate only if Washington lifts the sanctions. In the meantime, it has begun breaching some of the deal’s restrictions on its atomic activities, in what it calls a step-by-step, reversible response to the US withdrawal and the failure of European countries to protect it from US measures.
The IAEA’s acting chief Cornel Feruta has traveled to Tehran in recent days. He said his call to step up cooperation was “very well understood” by Iranian officials he met. His agency has declined to comment on the specifics of its questions as they are confidential.
“Any potential delay, denial, or deception by Iran that inhibits the IAEA’s essential safeguards verification work must be addressed immediately,” the US statement said.
“Refusal by Iran to do so will only underscore our concern that the matters before us may relate to serious questions regarding Iran’s compliance with its safeguards obligations.”

Earlier, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday accused Iran of "possible undeclared nuclear activities,"


Nine suspected militants killed in Egypt: ministry

Updated 40 min 17 sec ago

Nine suspected militants killed in Egypt: ministry

  • Police raids in Cairo targeted hideouts of “terrorist elements”
  • Those killed included “a commander of the Liwa Al-Thawra” extremist group

CAIRO: Nine suspected extremists including a commander have been killed in shootouts with police in suburbs of the Egyptian capital, the interior ministry said Wednesday.
Police raids to the east and south of Cairo targeted hideouts of “terrorist elements,” it said in a statement.
Those killed included “a commander of the Liwa Al-Thawra” extremist group, it added.
The Liwa Al-Thawra movement appeared in 2016 and has since claimed deadly attacks against the police and the Egyptian army.
Almost nine years after the 2011 uprising that toppled president Hosni Mubarak, security remains a chief concern in Egypt.
Hundreds of security personnel have died in an escalation of attacks since the military overthrow of Islamist president Muhammad Mursi in 2013.
That ouster was led by then army chief Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, who became president after 2014 polls and secured re-election last year with an official 97 percent of the vote.
In February 2018, the army launched a nationwide offensive against extremists, focused mainly on North Sinai, where the Daesh extremist group has a significant presence.
The authorities say some 650 suspected extremists and around 50 soldiers have been killed since.