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Anytime, Anywhere Access Not Envisaged in Additional Protocol
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Anytime, Anywhere Access Not Envisaged in Additional Protocol

The spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran rejected the idea that under the Additional Protocol Iran is obliged to give "anytime, anywhere" access to its facilities for inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency.

"It is not the case that the protocol stipulates unlimited access for (the IAEA), such that it can make anytime, anywhere visits" to Iran's facilities, Behrouz Kamalvandi said, referring to the conflicting interpretations of the terms of the Additional protocol.

He made the remarks in an interview with the Arabic-language Al-Alam news network on Monday, IRNA reported.

"Anyone may have their own interpretation of the contents of the Additional protocol," Kamalvandi said, noting that the valid interpretation, however, is the one that should be reached by studying the mechanism that has been used so far to implement the protocol, "which is not too difficult."

Iran and the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany) are negotiating to conclude a final nuclear deal by a June 30 deadline that would place constraints on Tehran's nuclear activities for specified durations, including monitoring by the IAEA of its nuclear work, in return for sanctions relief.

Based on an agreement on the outline of the prospective accord, which was announced in a joint statement released on April 2 in the Swiss city of Lausanne, a set of measures have been agreed by the two sides to verify the implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA – the official name of the final deal), including putting in force the Additional Protocol.    

The statement said, "The EU will terminate the implementation of all nuclear-related economic and financial sanctions and the US will cease the application of all nuclear-related secondary economic and financial sanctions, simultaneously with the IAEA-verified implementation by Iran of its key nuclear commitments."

***Sanctity of Sovereignty   

Noting that Iran, like any other country, never agrees to negotiate on its sovereignty, Kamalvandi said, "As a member state of the IAEA, while trying to respond to the questions posed by the UN agency (about our nuclear activities), we should also address concerns about sovereignty issues inside the country."

In order to address such concerns, "(we need to) refer to the text of the Additional Protocol," he said, adding that according to the text, inspections include both "nuclear" and "non-nuclear" sites, but there is no mention of "military sites".

"Under the protocol, in addition to nuclear sites … there could also be some visits to non-nuclear sites…. But it does not mean that (UN inspectors) can have access to military sites as there is no specific mention of such sites or bases anywhere in the protocol," he said, stressing that the text of "the protocol implies that any access will be for visits not inspections."

Article 5 of the protocol specifies that if a signatory fears that allowing access to a given non-nuclear site risks harm to national interests, it can find another way to handle the IAEA's demand; for instance, by providing access to the surrounding area of the site in question, Kamalvandi pointed out.  
 
The Additional Protocol is a legal document granting the IAEA complementary inspection authority to that provided in underlying safeguards agreements. A principal aim is to enable the IAEA inspectorate to provide assurance about both declared and possible undeclared nuclear activities of a member state.

Under the protocol, the IAEA is granted expanded rights of access to information and sites.

Tehran voluntarily signed the Additional Protocol in December 2003 and remained committed to it for over two years, but suspended its implementation after the UN Security Council imposed nuclear-related sanctions on Iran.

On the demand by some parties to the nuclear negotiations for meetings with nuclear scientists for interview, Kamalvandi said, "There is nothing under the title of interrogation of or interviewing with scientists or such things in neither the safeguards agreements nor the Additional Protocol."

***Defined Scope

Elsewhere, in a recent article published by Al-Monitor, former diplomat Hossein Mousavian pointed to the issues between Iran and the IAEA concerning the UN agency's investigation into what it calls possible military dimensions (PMD) to Iran's past nuclear activities, offering a set of recommendations on how to successfully address such issues.

Any access to nuclear facilities or scientists should be of a temporary nature and "Iran cannot allow these requests to be made into a permanent demand that is imposed uniquely on Iran," he said.

Any inspections should be conducted within a "defined scope", Mousavian said, stressing, "No country allows 'anytime, anyplace' inspections and Iran will not either."

"Such access should not jeopardize Iran's military secrets and does not put the lives of Iranian nuclear scientists at risk. These concerns are legitimate and even more pronounced for Iran given several of its nuclear scientists have been assassinated in terrorist attacks and there have been mysterious explosions at several of Iran's military facilities."

"After Iran follows through on these specific requests, its dossier at the IAEA on this issue should be closed once and for all," he noted.

"The P5+1 should, in the face of any goodwill Iran shows in this regard, reciprocate with goodwill on removing sanctions," he added.  

 

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