The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on Monday asked Iran grant its inspectors giving access to two sites that the UN's nuclear watchdog says past nuclear activity may have occurred.
The Board of Governors, one of the IAEA’s policy-making bodies, met in Vienna to discuss a report earlier this month in which the UN watchdog expressed concern that Iran has been blocking inspections at the two sites.
Bloomberg reported that a resolution drafted by France, Germany and the UK called on Iran to “fully cooperate” with IAEA’s monitors in the first diplomatic rebuke by the board of the Vienna-based agency since 2012.
"There are areas where our cooperation is ongoing and there is this issue where quite clearly we are in disagreement," IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi said Monday at a press briefing, urging Iran to allow "prompt access" to the two sites. “It’s a mixed bag. I hope we can do better.”
The two sites in question are not thought to be directly relevant to Iran's current activities, but the agency says it needs to know if activities going back almost two decades have been properly declared and all materials accounted for.
Iran told the agency the report was a source of "deep regret and disappointment" and hinted the queries were based on "fabricated information" from "intelligence services".
The Islamic Republic said the United States and Israel were trying to "exert pressure on the agency".
Grossi said that there were "no legal ambiguities" around the requests for access.
"The agency works on the basis of a very rigorous, dogged, meticulous technical and scientific analysis of information," he said, insisting: "Nothing is taken at face value."
The latest row over access comes as a landmark deal between Iran and world powers in 2015 continues to unravel following US President Donald Trump's decision two years ago to abandon the deal and reimpose tough sanctions.
Under the deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Iran committed to curtailing its nuclear activities for sanctions relief and other benefits.
A year after the US pullout, Iran began to reduce its commitments in retaliation.
Iran's stockpile of low-enriched uranium is now almost eight times the limit fixed in the accord, according to an IAEA assessment published earlier this month.
The IAEA says it continues to have access to all the facilities needed to monitor Iran's current nuclear activity.
Grossi said in his briefing that there has been no change in Iran’s implementation of the JCPOA.
“To date, the agency has not observed any changes to Iran’s implementation of its nuclear-related commitments in connection with this particular announcement, or in the level of cooperation by Iran in relation to agency verification and monitoring activities under the JCPOA,” he said.
Grossi noted that the agency “continues to verify the non-diversion of nuclear material declared by Iran under its Safeguards Agreement, adding that evaluations regarding the absence of the so-called undeclared nuclear material and activities for Iran will also continue.
Earlier this month, Iran insisted it was ready to resolve any issues with the IAEA.
AFP and Press TV also contributed to this story.