Iran temporarily detained IAEA inspector

The International Atomic Energy Agency has confirmed that “an Agency inspector was last week temporarily prevented from leaving Iran,” in an incident several diplomats denounced as an “outrageous provocation.”

While speaking on the sidelines of yesterday’s Board of Governors meeting in Vienna, the U.S. envoy to the IAEA Jackie Wolcott noted that the inspector is now safe, but underscored that the incident is viewed by Washington as “an outrageous and unwarranted act of intimidation.”

Iran’s envoy to the U.N. watchdog organization downplayed the allegations. Kazem Gharibabadi insisted that in spite of “serious security concerns,” the female inspector’s “departure was facilitated in a smooth and quick manner” and she was at no time detained. “During the routine checking procedure, the detectors around went off and it was signaling towards this specific person,” he claimed, elaborating that “They have repeated this procedure again and again and unfortunately the results were the same all the way for only that specific inspector.” The Iranian diplomat added that “While the procedure for finding the reason behind the incident was going on in a smooth manner, the hasty summoning of the inspector has made the investigation team to follow this issue without her presence – which is still ongoing.”

In a statement posted on the IAEA Twitter account page confirming the incident, the atomic agency underscored that while it does not publicly disclose details pertaining to such matters, the Acting Director General told the Board of Governors that “Preventing an inspector from leaving a country, particularly when instructed to do so by the IAEA, is not acceptable and should not occur.”