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U.S. pressure or not, U.N. nuclear watchdog sees no need to check Iran military sites

The United States is pushing U.N. nuclear inspectors to check military sites in Iran to verify it is not breaching its nuclear deal with world powers. But for this to happen, inspectors must believe such checks are necessary and so far they do not, officials say.

 

Last week, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley visited the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which is scrutinizing compliance with the 2015 agreement, as part of a review of the pact by the administration of President Donald Trump. He has called it “the worst deal ever negotiated”.

 

After her talks with officials of the U.N. nuclear watchdog, Haley said: “There are... numerous undeclared sites that have not been inspected. That is a problem.” Iran dismissed her demands as “merely a dream”.

 

The IAEA has the authority to request access to facilities in Iran, including military ones, if there are new and credible indications of banned nuclear activities there, according to officials from the agency and signatories to the deal.

 

But they said Washington has not provided such indications to back up its pressure on the IAEA to make such a request.

 

“We’re not going to visit a military site like Parchin just to send a political signal,” an IAEA official said, mentioning a military site often cited by opponents of the deal including Iran’s arch-adversary Israel and many U.S. Republicans. The deal was struck under Trump’s Democratic predecessor Barack Obama.

 

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