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Iran has expelled several nuclear energy inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency days after it expelled one such inspector involved in the examination of Iranian nuclear facilities.
"These inspectors are among the most experienced Agency experts with unique knowledge in enrichment technology. They have conducted essential verification work at the enrichment facilities in Iran which are under Agency safeguards," said IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi in a statement.
The IAEA has been going to Iran for years now to make sure the country does not develop nuclear weapons, following the removal of EU and UN sanctions, imposed on Iran during the Ahmadinejad government, which tried to turn Iran into a nuclear power.
The IAEA’s Grossi acknowledged that Iran’s move is not against the rules of the Non-Proliferation Treaty Safeguards Agreement but added that the right to expel inspectors “has been exercised by Iran in a manner that affects in a direct and severe way the ability of the IAEA to conduct effectively its inspections in Iran.”
Reuters noted in a report that Iran’s decision to expel the inspectors comes days after the United States, the UK, France, and Germany called on Tehran to start cooperating with the IAEA to explain traces of uranium that were found at sites undeclared as nuclear energy development sites.
This weekend, the European Union was quick to condemn Iran for expelling the inspectors and urged it to reconsider the decision.
"The European Union is highly concerned by the ... decision by Iran to withdraw the official designation of several experienced IAEA inspectors to monitor and verify its nuclear programme," foreign affairs spokesman Peter Stano said in a statement quoted by Reuters.
"Particularly worrying is the direct and severe impact of this decision on the Agency's ability to conduct its verification activities, which includes the monitoring of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. The EU urges Iran to reconsider its decision without delay," Stano also said.
By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com
Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com