Speaking to the website of the Strategic Council on Foreign Relations, Rahman Ghahremanpour said carrying contaminated nuclear materials by IAEA inspectors was a violation of the Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement. He said Iran has the right to file a documented complaint against the IAEA inspector’s behavior and not grant them visa to visit Iran.
He said: The inspection of nuclear sites is subject to a series of agreements between the International Atomic Energy Agency and IAEA member states. This is specifically subject to the Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement and its various provisions that govern the conduct of inspectors and their duties in the field. It explains and determines what they can do and what they are not allowed to do.
He added that the IAEA inspector’s action in Iran was a kind of sabotage, noting: “What crosses the minds of Iranians is the possibility of nuclear sabotage, something we also witnessed within Stuxnet. But at the same time, it could have been a breach of duty by an IAEA inspector.”
Ghahremanpour explained: What we know so far is that the IAEA lady inspector wanted to bring contaminated nuclear materials to Iran’s nuclear facilities, and Iranian authorities have noticed and stopped her.
The disarmament expert said: “In 2004 and 2005, a dispute emerged between Iran and the IAEA over the illegal passage to other countries of some information IAEA inspectors had received from Iran. Iran complained to the Agency at that time and the IAEA promised to investigate, but the results of those investigations were not released.
He said this was ultimately a breach of the Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement, adding: “Iran can file a suit with the Agency’s legal office and, most importantly, not approve of the inspector’s competence for the next time, and that person may be dismissed from the IAEA.
The expert added: “There have been such incidents in the relationship between the Agency and the member states often file suits and the IAEA tries to resolve the problem by not sending that inspector back to that country. Iran also has the right to file a documented suit against those inspectors’ conduct and not extend their visa to enter Iran.
He said intelligence agencies in some countries may send different individuals to a country’s nuclear facilities as IAEA inspectors. The US sabotage at the Swiss heavy water facility in the 1960s is one of the most prominent examples of such actions; or there are events related to IAEA inspections of the Argentinian or Brazilian facilities. The issue of the UNSCOM project in Iraq is also significant. One of the differences between Iraq and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in the 1990s was that Iraq was constantly complaining that some of the inspectors who came to Iraq under the cover of UNSCOM and UN forces were US and Israeli intelligence and security agents.
Noting that this issue is mostly a legal matter and that the Agency is bound by the Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement to safeguard trade- nuclear secrets, the expert continued: IAEA inspectors’ behavior under Article 87 of the Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement is subject to certain conditions. Inspectors cannot set up devices and endanger the safety of nuclear facilities. Iran can also send officers to accompany the IAEA inspectors wherever they want to visit.
“Someone may try to make sabotage or countries may have missions from other countries; these are issues that may arise in different countries,” he said, adding that objections may be made with som producing results and some other may not.”
Referring to Iran’s sensitivity to the issue of sabotage at nuclear facilities, he said: The dominant view indicates that some countries still have plans to sabotage Iran’s nuclear facilities or accuse Iran of carrying out covert activities in violation of IAEA regulations. But there is not much information available and it cannot be analyzed based on generalities. The identity of this inspector (who came to Iran) is still unknown. Which country did the inspector come from? What was her country of inspection? Had she been to Iran before? What is her expertise and relevance? We have no information regarding these questions.
The disarmament expert said: “We have had reports of nuclear sabotage before, but this was a minor case, and because it involves the Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement with the IAEA, Iran can object to this action within the legal framework and ask for follow up