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IAEA Condemns Reported Harassment of Female Inspectors in Iran

IAEA Condemns Reported Harassment of Female Inspectors in Iran

Thursday, 16 September, 2021 - 04:45
The logo of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is seen at their headquarters during a board of governors meeting, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Vienna, Austria, June 7, 2021. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

The UN nuclear watchdog on Wednesday condemned as "unacceptable" incidents involving its inspectors in Iran following a news report that Iranian guards had harassed female agency staff.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday that guards at Iran's main nuclear facility, Natanz, physically harassed female International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors in several incidents since early June.

The incidents allegedly included inappropriate touching and orders to remove clothing, the report said, citing diplomats.

The United States condemned the incidents.

"Harassment of IAEA inspectors is absolutely unacceptable and any repeat of such conduct would be of serious concern," said US Charge d'Affaires Louis L Bono.

"The safety and well-being of IAEA inspectors must be one of this Board’s highest priorities."

Asked to comment on the report, the IAEA noted in a statement "some incidents related to security checks of agency inspectors at one Iranian facility" in recent months.

"The agency immediately and firmly raised this issue with Iran to explain in very clear and unequivocal terms that such security-related incidents involving agency staff are unacceptable and must not happen again," it added.

The statement said there had been no further incidents after the IAEA and Iran exchanged messages on this matter.

"Security measures at the nuclear facilities in Iran are, reasonably, tightened" Iran's ambassador to the IAEA, Kazem Gharibabadi, wrote on Twitter late Tuesday.

"The IAEA inspectors have gradually come up with the new rules and regulations."

The Natanz nuclear facility was hit by an explosion in April, which Tehran has branded an act of sabotage.

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