Iran Rebukes U.S. for Suggestion IAEA Could Aid Military Strikes

Iran asked United Nations atomic monitors to condemn a White House official’s suggestion that potential U.S. or Israeli targeting of nuclear sites could be helped by information gathered during inspections.

The International Atomic Energy Agency should “condemn categorically” statements made last month by a White House press secretary, Josh Earnest, Iran’s representative to the IAEA wrote in a July 24 letter to the agency’s director general, Yukiya Amano. A copy of the letter was published on the IAEA website after being sent to its members.

“Targeting decisions that would be made by military officials either in Israel or the United States, those targeting decisions would be significantly informed” by the “knowledge that has been gained in the intervening years through this inspections regime,” Earnest said.

The July 14 accord between Iran and world powers, clinched in Vienna after almost two years of talks, sets limits on the Islamic Republic’s nuclear work in return for sanctions relief. Designed to lower the risk of another military confrontation in the Middle East, the deal is facing fierce opposition in the U.S. Congress.

“Fueling suspicion that the safeguards inspectorate has been penetrated by U.S. intelligence or is ready to serve as an adjunct of U.S. intelligence can only weaken belief in the impartiality of the IAEA,” said Peter Jenkins, the U.K.’s former envoy to the agency, in an e-mailed reply to questions.

The U.S. embassy to the IAEA didn’t return repeated calls seeking comment. The IAEA also didn’t reply to requests for comment.

Earnest’s “statement jeopardizes the role of the IAEA” under the Vienna agreement, Reza Najafi, Iran’s envoy to the agency, wrote in the letter. The IAEA must “ensure scrupulous compliance with the principle of confidentiality regarding all information related to the implementation of safeguards,” he added.

Amano is scheduled to brief U.S. senators on Wednesday in Washington, where his agency is under pressure to reveal non-public information about its activities in Iran.

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