On Saturday, the UN nuclear watchdog denounced Iran’s “disproportionate and unprecedented” decision to revoke the accreditation of several of its most seasoned inspectors.
The decision was in reprisal for “political abuses” by the United States, France, Germany, and Britain, the Iranian foreign ministry responded.
But IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi warned that this would substantially impair the agency’s capacity to carry out its duties.
“Today, the Islamic Republic of Iran informed me of its decision to withdraw the designation of several experienced Agency inspectors assigned to conduct verification activities in Iran” under an existing agreement, said Grossi.
“This follows a previous recent withdrawal of the designation of another experienced Agency inspector for Iran,” his statement added.
“With today’s decision, Iran has effectively removed about one third of the core group of the Agency’s most experienced inspectors designated for Iran,” said Grossi.
Major international countries and Iran came to an agreement in 2015 whereby Tehran would curtail its nuclear program in exchange for respite from harsh economic sanctions.
But everything began to fall apart in 2018 when Donald Trump, then the US president, unilaterally withdrew from the agreement and re-imposed sanctions.
In response, Tehran accelerated its nuclear program while maintaining its denial that it has aspirations to build a nuclear weapons capability.
The deal has not been successfully revived thus yet.