US Issues Ultimatum To Iran

( On Monday, US officials issued a stern warning to Iran: stop denying access to inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to the TESA Karaj workshop or face diplomatic retaliation from the IAEA’s Board of Governors.

The TESA Karaj complex makes components for centrifuges – the machines that enrich uranium. Back in June the workshop was hit by possible sabotage that resulted in one of the four IAEA cameras getting destroyed. Iran removed the cameras, and the footage from the destroyed camera is missing.

TESA Karaj is just one of several sites Iran agreed to open to IAEA inspectors so they could service their monitoring equipment and swap out filled memory cards with new ones.

On September 12, the IAEA Board of Governors reached an accord with Iran on permitting inspectors access to these sites.

Then on Sunday, the IAEA sent a report to member states notifying them that Iran had granted access to the sites as agreed in the September 12 accord, however, IAEA inspectors who arrived at the TESA Karaj workshop to operate and reinstall the cameras were denied access.

Kazem Gharibabadi, Iran’s envoy to the IAEA, said on Twitter that before the deal with the IAEA, Iran had indicated that monitoring equipment at TESA Karaj was not included because of ongoing investigations. Gharibabadi claimed that the IAEA’s Sunday report “goes beyond the agreed terms” of the September 12 accord.

In response to the news that Iran blocked inspectors at TESA Karaj, on Monday the US sent a statement to the IAEA’s 35-nation Board of Governors expressing concern over Iran’s refusal to comply with the September 12 agreement. In their statement, US officials called on Iran to open the workshop to IAEA inspectors “without further delay,” warning that if Iran refuses, the US would closely consult with the board “in the coming days on an appropriate response.”

The European Union joined the US in expressing concern over Iran’s actions, telling the IAEA board that Iran’s failure to grant access to the workshop was “a worrying development.” And like the US, the EU demanded Iran grant access “without any further delay.”

Ordinarily, Iran bristles at these kinds of resolution from the IAEA Board of Governors. But with its new hardline President Ebrahim Raisi, who recently vowed that Iran would not return to the negotiating table through Western “pressure,” such a resolution could cripple the Biden administration’s hopes to restarting negotiations on the 2015 nuclear deal.