IAEA head Rafael Grossi made it clear that this doesn’t mean that Iran has completely stonewalled inspections by the UN nuclear watchdog, but that the Islamic Republic makes it impossible to get the full picture of what exactly is happening with its nuclear program.
Iran refuses, for example, to give the IAEA access to a key nuclear plant in Karaj after the facility was targeted by a small drone in June this year.
“It hasn’t paralyzed what we are doing there, but the damage has been done, with a potential of us not being able to reconstruct the picture, the jigsaw puzzle, Grossi told the American news outlet NBC.
He added that “if and when the JCPOA (nuclear deal with Iran) is restarted, I know that for the JCPOA partners to go back to an agreement, they will have to know where they are putting their feet.”
Iran has blamed Israel for the Karaj attack and accused it of “terrorism”.
The Iranians claimed that the attack destroyed some IAEA surveillance cameras, but later the truth came out and it appeared that Iranian personnel at the Karaj facility had removed the damaged cameras and their memory cards. It remains unclear how many cameras the IAEA had at the facility in Karaj.
During his recent visit to Washington, Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid warned his American counterpart Antony Blinken that Israel firmly believes that Iran is now very close to the moment it will become “a nuclear threshold state.”
Grossi added that a failure to restart the negotiations with Iran would have “enormous political impact and reverberations in the Middle East and beyond.”
Later, on October 26th, the IAEA reported that Iran had expanded its highly enriched uranium program at the above-ground nuclear facility at Natanz,
Recently, Israeli ministers and PM Bennett have made it clear that Israel has a ‘plan B’ in case the stalled nuclear negotiations with Iran do not resume quickly.
The Israeli government has earmarked $5 billion for preparations connected to plan B and has asked the Pentagon to speed up the delivery of four KC-46 refueling aircraft that are used for long-distance missions of Israel’s F-16, F-15, and F-35 warplanes.
Meanwhile, Channel 12 in Israel revealed last week that Aviv Kochavi, the chief of staff of the Israel Defense Forces, had instructed the IAF to resume training exercises on strikes against Iran’s nuclear facilities.
The news came after Israeli Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman said that a confrontation between Israel and Iran was “inevitable and only a matter of time.”