Middle East

Iran says no need for UN watchdog office in Tehran

(FILES) Picture taken on November 28, 2013 shows International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) General-Director Yukiya Amano addressing a press conference as part of the Board of Governors meeting at the UN atomic agency headquarters in Vienna. AFP PHOTO / ALEXANDER KLEIN

TEHRAN: A senior Iranian official Saturday dismissed the need for a Tehran office for UN inspectors tasked with monitoring Iran's partial nuclear freeze, Mehr news agency said.

The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency had said the watchdog may ask Iran for permission "to set up a temporary office to provide logistical support," for its inspectors.

UN inspectors are in Iran to monitor the implementation of a nuclear deal with Western powers that took effect on Monday, after Iran stopped enriching uranium above five percent fissile purities at its Natanz and Fordo facilities.

"In our opinion, by considering the volume of nuclear activities in the country, there is no need for setting up a nuclear watchdog office in Iran," said Reza Najafi, Tehran's envoy to the IAEA.

"We have not received such a request from the IAEA for setting up an office in Tehran," Najafi told Mehr news agency.

IAEA chief Yukiya Amano said on Friday he might seek Iran's permission for a Tehran office for inspectors.

Amano said the IAEA needs to "double our staff and efforts" in order to carry out its role in monitoring the November deal which will require intensive checks over the next six months.

He added the IAEA had won backing from member states for its efforts to monitor Iran's partial nuclear freeze, which will require an extra 5.5 million euros ($7.5 million).

The United States, France, Britain and Germany were among those who had offered to contribute funds, he added.

The IAEA currently has two teams of two inspectors each that take turns to monitor sites in Iran.

Under the deal, Iran is also converting its stockpile of medium-enriched uranium -- a particular concern to the international community since it can be further purified to weapons-grade.

In return, Western countries are partially lifting choking economic sanctions on Iran.

The deal is meant to be a first step toward a long-term agreement ending the 10-year standoff between Iran and the West over its nuclear program.





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