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IAEA chief: time running out to end stand-off over Iran workshop

i24NEWS - Reuters

clock 3 min read

Iran's Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian (R) meets with the Director-General of the IAEA Rafael Grossi at the foreign ministry headquarters in the capital Tehran on November 23, 2021.
ATTA KENARE / AFPIran's Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian (R) meets with the Director-General of the IAEA Rafael Grossi at the foreign ministry headquarters in the capital Tehran on November 23, 2021.

Grossi said he made no progress on several disputes, including getting access to the TESA Karaj workshop

Time is running out for the UN atomic watchdog to gain access to re-install cameras at a centrifuge-parts workshop in Iran, as the agency will soon be unable to guarantee equipment is not being diverted to make atom bombs, its chief said on Wednesday.

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief Rafael Grossi was speaking the day after a trip to Tehran in which he said he made no progress on several disputes, the most pressing of which is getting access to the workshop at the TESA Karaj complex two months after Iran promised to grant it.

"We are close to the point where I would not be able to guarantee continuity of knowledge," Grossi told a news conference on the first day of a quarterly meeting of his agency's 35-nation Board of Governors.

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That would mean there was a gap in IAEA monitoring of sensitive installations, during which a significant amount of material or equipment could be siphoned off to a secret nuclear weapons program.

The IAEA has repeatedly said it has no indication that Iran has a secret weapons program, and Iran insists its aims are peaceful. But Grossi said he still does not know whether Karaj is operational or not five months after the apparent attack.

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"It is obvious that such a long period of time without us getting access, knowing whether there are operational activities ongoing, is something that in itself would at some point prevent me from continuing to say 'I have an idea of what is going on,'" Grossi said.