Iran Not Cooperating With UN Probe Into Alleged Nuclear Warehouse, Report Says

Tehran refusing to answer questions about claim it held nuclear equipment and material at secret site, according to Wall Street Journal

Iran's ambassador to the IAEA, Gharib Abadi, speaks to the media after the IAEA board of governors meeting in Vienna, July 10, 2019.
AP Photo/Ronald Zak

Iran is not cooperating with a United Nations effort to look into the alleged storage of nuclear equipment and material in Tehran, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday, citing unnamed diplomats.

Tehran has been unwilling to answer the International Atomic Energy Agency's questions about claims – first made by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last year – that the Islamic Republic held equipment and material used for past work on nuclear weapons at a secret site, Monday's report said.

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According to the Wall Street Journal, diplomats said this has caused controversy within and around the IAEA, with the agency having said it would publically criticize Tehran for its lack of cooperation but then making only a vague reference to it in a report released to member states on Friday.

This marked the first time Iran appeared to have refused to cooperate with IAEA monitoring of its activities since the deal on its nuclear program was impletmented in January 2016, the newspaper said.

The report came as Iranian diplomats were in France for last-minute talks on preventing the collapse of the 2015 deal following the American withdrawal from the agreement last year.

The IAEA said in its report released on Friday that Iran has gone further in breaching the deal, increasing its stock of enriched uranium and refining to a greater purity than allowed.

Last year, Netanyahu accused Iran of keeping a "secret atomic warehouse" containing nuclear equipment and material in a property near its capital.

Netanyahu said that the warehouse contained up to 300 tons of nuclear-related material and called on the IAEA to inspect the facility immediately.

A few months earlier, the prime minister revealed a cache of documents he said proved Iran lied to the world about its nuclear program for years, even after the 2015 deal. The prime minister said that in 2017 Iran moved the documents to a secret site that looked like “a dilapidated warehouse” on the outskirts of Tehran with the goal of hiding evidence of a military nuclear program.

Although Netanyahu did not present proof that Iran had violated the nuclear deal, he said the documents indicated that the deal was based on deception by Tehran and that the Iranians had preserved their nuclear knowledge for future use.