RFL/RE – Iranian President Hassan Rohani has rejected a U.S. demand that UN nuclear inspectors visit Tehran’s military bases, while other Iranian officials called the idea a “dream.”
In a televised address on August 29, Rohani said he believed that the UN nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), would be unlikely to agree to such visits in any case.
“Our relations with the IAEA are defined by rules, not by the United States,” Rohani said. “I see it as unlikely that the IAEA will accept the request for inspections, but even if they do, we will not.”
Rohani also asserted that the United States would get little support from allies if it tried to back out of Tehran’s 2015 nuclear agreement with world powers.
“Twenty-eight [European Union] countries, which are America’s allies, clearly say we are committed to the [deal],” he said.
French President Emmanuel Macron had said earlier in the day that he saw “no alternative” to the deal, which placed curbs on Iran’s nuclear activities in exchange for sanctions relief.
Rohani was responding to a call by U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley last week for the IAEA to seek access to Iran’s military sites to ensure they are not concealing secret nuclear activities.
The IAEA was charged with monitoring Tehran’s compliance with restrictions on its nuclear activities under the deal, which is aimed to prevent Tehran from developing nuclear weapons. Iran says it is not seeking to do so.
Although Iranian leaders have repeatedly refused to open their military sites to inspectors, the deal laid out a process for the UN agency to request access to any Iranian site where it suspects nuclear activities might be occurring.
The agency has repeatedly certified that Iran is in compliance with the deal’s nuclear curbs.
Before Rohani spoke on August 29, Iranian government spokesman Mohammad Baqer Nobakht told a news conference in Tehran that “Iran’s military sites are off-limits.”
“All information about these sites are classified. Iran will never allow such visits. Don’t pay attention to such remarks that are only a dream,” he said.
A top aide to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei also rejected the idea.
“The Americans will take their dream of visiting our military and sensitive sites to their graves…. It will never happen,” Ali Akbar Velayati said.
While Iran has long rejected allowing international access to its military sites, under the nuclear deal it allowed inspectors to make a onetime visit to its Parchin military complex, where Western intelligence services believe Tehran had carried out nuclear weapons development more than a decade ago.
Under the 2015 accord, Iran also was not allowed any sanctions relief until the IAEA said it was satisfied that Tehran had answered outstanding questions about “possible military dimensions” of its past nuclear research.