Iran dismisses demands beyond nuke deal as IAEA head visits

TEHRAN, IRAN (AP) — Iran won’t accept any additional demands beyond its commitments under the 2015 nuclear deal, the country’s top nuclear official declared yesterday as the chief of the United Nations (UN) nuclear watchdog made his first visit to Iran.

The Head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Rafael Grossi arrived in Iran on Monday to press for access to sites where the Islamic Republic is suspected of having stored or used undeclared nuclear material. Grossi took over the IAEA after the sudden death of its late director-general Yukiya Amano last year.

Grossi’s visit comes as the United States (US) is pushing to “snapback” UN sanctions on Iran for allegedly violating the nuclear deal with world powers.

The IAEA repeatedly found Iran in compliance with the agreement until last year, when Tehran began breaking the deal’s limits on nuclear enrichment in response to heavy US sanctions following US President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrawing America from the accord. Iran now no longer follows any of its limits, but continues to allow IAEA inspectors and surveillance at nuclear sites in the country.

Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran Ali Akbar Salehi spoke during a press conference in Tehran with Grossi. “Definitely Iran will not accept demands beyond (its) nuclear commitments. We do act based on our own national interests,” Salehi said, according to the state-run IRNA news agency.

Grossi faced a series of questions from local Iranian journalists implicitly criticising the IAEA, especially over him pushing Iran for access to possible nuclear sites thought to be from the early 2000s, before Iran signed the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers. Iran maintains IAEA inspectors have no legal basis to inspect the sites.