The Iranian defense minister made clear Wednesday that international inspectors would not be granted access to the state’s military sites under the framework agreement with the world powers on the country’s nuclear program.
“No such agreement has been reached and basically, visiting military centers are among the red lines and no visit to these centers will be allowed,” Brigadier General Hossein Dehgan said, according to Iranian media reports quoting a Defense Ministry statement.
Dehgan said international media reports to the effect that the deal will allow International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) experts to inspect military centers across Iran were “lies” and “deceits.”
“The determination of the nuclear negotiating team of the Islamic Republic of Iran is so that it will not allow anything be imposed on the Iranian nation,” he added.
Ever since the framework agreement was announced last week, the various parties have set out sometimes sharply differing accounts of what has been agreed, provoking escalating controversy and criticism over a deal that President Barack Obama has hailed as historic and Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has warned is “very bad” and paves Iran’s path to the bomb.
According to the official American fact sheet on the framework agreement, the IAEA “will have regular access to all of Iran’s nuclear facilities, including to Iran’s enrichment facility at Natanz and its former enrichment facility at Fordo, and including the use of the most up-to-date, modern monitoring technologies.”
In addition, “Iran will be required to grant access to the IAEA to investigate suspicious sites or allegations of a covert enrichment facility, conversion facility, centrifuge production facility, or yellowcake production facility anywhere in the country.”
In a New York Times interview at the weekend, Obama spoke of Iran having the right to block access to military sites, and a subsequent arbitration-style process: “Obviously, a request will have to be made. Iran could object, but what we have done is to try to design a mechanism whereby once those objections are heard, that it is not a final veto that Iran has, but in fact some sort of international mechanism will be in place that makes a fair assessment as to whether there should be an inspection, and if they determine it should be, that’s the tiebreaker, not Iran saying, ‘No, you can’t come here.'”