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Nuclear watchdog group pushes back against report on Iran inspections

The international watchdog agency charged with monitoring nuclear activity is pushing back against a report that it would let Iran use its own inspectors to report on one particular site.

"I am disturbed by statements suggesting that the IAEA has given responsibility for nuclear inspections to Iran," Yukiya Amano, director general of the U.N.'s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said in a statement. "Such statements misrepresent the way in which we will undertake this important verification work."

On Wednesday, the Associated Press reported that the IAEA would let Iran use its own inspectors to monitor the Parchin nuclear site. The site was suspected of nuclear weapons development in the past, but it is not presently a suspected weapons development site.

The reported agreement is separate from the major nuclear agreement that President Obama and other nations have negotiated with Iran. Still, congressional Republicans on Wednesday said the reported Parchin agreement would have serious implications for the broader nuclear deal.

While Amano suggested the AP report is inaccurate, he added that the separate arrangements the IAEA has with Iran over Parchin and other nuclear issues is confidential, "and I have a legal obligation not to make them public."

The IAEA did not comment on the specific AP reporting that Iran will be allowed to take soil samples itself at Parchin and hand them off to the IAEA to verify their technical authenticity.

However, Amano said, "I can state that the arrangements are technically sound and consistent with our long-established practices. They do not compromise our safeguards standards in any way. The Road-map between Iran and the IAEA is a very robust agreement, with strict timelines, which will help us to clarify past and present outstanding issues regarding Iran's nuclear programme."

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