Iran Claims Inspection of Military Sites “Has Never Been” on Nuke Talks Agenda

A member of Iran’s negotiating team said that inspections of military sites, deemed essential to ensuring that Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon, “has never been on the agenda in our negotiations,” The Jerusalem Post reported today.

Iran has repeatedly ruled out “alien” inspections into any of its military facilities, characterizing such demands a violation of its sovereignty.

“Inspection of military installations has never been on the agenda in our negotiations,” Hamid Ba’eedinejad, a senior negotiator for Iran, was quoted as saying by state-run Press TV. “As we have made it very clear, we never accepted that there could be inspections from the military sites in our country.”

Both France and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said last week that inspections of Iran’s military sites are essential to any nuclear deal. On Friday, the IAEA’s quarterly report on its progress in establishing the full scope of Iran’s nuclear program stated that without Iran’s cooperation, which was required of Iran by the November 2013 Joint Plan of Action, it cannot “conclude that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities.” The wording of the report echoes the language of IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano, who has said a number of times this year  that Iran’s refusal to cooperate means that he cannot confirm that Iran’s nuclear work has been exclusively for peaceful purposes.

Following President Barack Obama’s assertion in early April, after the announcement that nuclear talks with Iran would continue, that “Iran has also agreed to the most robust and intrusive inspections and transparency regime ever negotiated for any nuclear program in history,” high-ranking Iranian official pronounced their objections to inspections of nuclear sites. The officials include Iranian defense minister Brig. Gen. Hossein Dehghan, as well as Behrouz Kamalvandi, the spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran.  Last month, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei also ruled out permitting inspections of military sites. In response to calls by France and the IAEA for inspections of military sites, Iranian foreign minister and chief nuclear negotiator Mohammad Javad Zarif blasted the Western negotiating countries last week for making “excessive demands.”

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