Iran has announced that it will block and bar 38 inspectors from the U.N. nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), from entering the country. This announcement was made by an Iranian lawmaker, the head of Iranian parliament’s national security commission, on Iran’s ISNA news agency on Monday.
The head of parliament’s Foreign Affairs and National Security Commission, Alaeddin Boroujerdi, was quoted as saying Monday by ISNA that “The committee (in charge of implementing the parliamentary legislation) decided not to allow 38 inspectors to enter Iran and this restriction has been officially announced to the IAEA.” But he did not give details about which inspectors had been barred. He only added, without giving any further details, that “The nationality of those who were barred is not the main basis for us.”
IAEA inspectors regularly make routine spot checks on Iran’s nuclear facilities under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, to which Iran is a signatory. Last summer, Iran temporarily denied visas to some inspectors and cancelled the frequency of visits to atomic sites by inspectors already in the country to show its anger over Western pressure.
Iran is angered in a standoff about its nuclear program, which the West says is aimed at making atomic bombs despite the Tehran’s denials.
Boroujerdi said that “Iran has decided not to give entry permission to 38 inspectors from the IAEA and has announced the limitation to the IAEA officially.”
On December 23, 2006, the U.N. Security Council passed a sanctions resolution (UN resolution 1737) against Iran, which calls for the suspension of Iran’s uranium enrichment and missile programs. In response, Iran’s parliament passed a bill requiring its government to revise its cooperation with the IAEA and to accelerate its nuclear work. Iran has yet to carry out the threat.
Boroujerdi said that “This is the first step in implementing the parliament [Iran] legislation.”
Iran is OPEC’s second largest oil exporter and insists that its nuclear program is only aimed at meeting peaceful energy needs. But the Western world fears that it could be converted towards building bombs.
Due to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s vowing not to bow to pressure, the European Union foreign ministers, who met in Brussels on Monday, were to call for the full implementation of United Nations sanctions against Iran over its suspect nuclear program. The agreed to halt the import and export of nuclear-related goods, freeze the assets of those linked to the program and impose a travel ban on some individuals.
When asked how long it would take for Britain to apply the sanctions, British Foreign Minister Margaret Beckett told reporters: “In common with everyone else, we will implement them as speedily and as effectively as we can.”