The American newspaper, The Wall Street Journal, said on Tuesday, September 14, 2021, that incidents of harassment have occurred more than once by Iranian security guards at the inspectors of the International Atomic Energy Agency of the United Nations during the past few months.
The newspaper quoted US diplomatic sources as saying that one of these incidents “occurred in the Natanz nuclear facility, where the guards touched the female inspectors in an inappropriate way, and also ordered them to remove their clothes during their search.”
While one diplomat, whose names were not revealed by the newspaper, said that “there are at least 4 incidents of physical harassment,” another diplomat confirmed that there were between 5 to 7 incidents of harassment.
Diplomats revealed that these incidents occurred during the period last June and continued during the past few weeks.
For its part, the United States called on Iran to stop these behaviors and not to repeat them, as it had distributed a paper in this regard to the members of the International Atomic Energy Agency before the meeting of the Council of Member States, according to the newspaper.
The American paper indicated that “harassing the inspectors of the International Atomic Energy Agency is totally unacceptable,” and that the Council of Member States should take appropriate measures to stop this behavior.
These incidents come amid a crisis of accusations and criticism between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency, as Tehran says that the International Energy Agency and its director “launch political attacks against Iran.”
The International Atomic Energy Agency confirmed to the newspaper that these incidents occurred in an Iranian facility, without providing any additional details.
Jith, a spokesman for the agency, said that Iran had provided explanations regarding the enhanced security measures, in the wake of the incidents that occurred in its facilities, while the agency expressed its categorical rejection of the recurrence of such behavior.
The Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Rafael Grossi, confirmed, on Monday, his adoption of “firmness” towards Iran, and said during a press conference held in Vienna; In response to his question about whether it is time to get tough in dealing with Tehran, “From day one, my approach toward Iran has been firm and just.”
It is noteworthy that the IAEA has reached a new agreement with Tehran, on Sunday, that allows the inspectors of the UN agency to verify the monitoring devices placed in Iranian facilities under the international agreement on the Iranian nuclear agreement concluded in 2015.
Accordingly, inspectors will be allowed to enter the facilities to change hard disks and repair or replace cameras if necessary, but the data will remain in Iran.
Tehran did not allow the agency to see the camera recordings and linked the matter to reaching an agreement in talks aimed at reviving the agreement on the Iranian nuclear file.
And last February, Tehran began reducing the work of the inspectors of the International Atomic Energy Agency, after the expiration of the deadline set by the Shura Council to lift the sanctions imposed by Washington after its unilateral withdrawal from the agreement on the Iranian nuclear program.
Last week, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken expressed concern that Iran is running out of time to return to the nuclear agreement, against the backdrop of a scathing report by the International Atomic Energy Agency, which denounced Iran’s lack of cooperation, which, according to it, leads to obstruction of the Iranian nuclear program’s monitoring missions.
In May 2018, Washington withdrew from the nuclear agreement signed in 2015 between Iran and the P5+1 group, which includes Russia, Britain, China, the United States, France and Germany, and imposed economic sanctions on Tehran.
Since President Joe Biden took office, he has returned to open the way again to return to the nuclear agreement, as he had announced during his election campaign, but things have reached the point of who starts first, as Iran insists that Washington lift sanctions first, while Biden insists that Tehran return to abide by the terms The nuclear agreement, especially the rate of uranium enrichment set by the agreement at 3.67%, while Iran has already reached 20%.