An Iranian official on Thursday called the United Nations's International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) "unprofessional" and "unfair" ahead of talks between Iran and the watchdog agency about uranium particles found at old, undeclared sites.
The issue at hand has to do with the particles suggesting that Iran previously had undeclared nuclear materials at three different locations, Reuters reported. Iran has not yet provided a satisfactory answer to the IAEA as to how those particles ended up at those locations.
"The statement of the Agency in its report is completely unprofessional, illusory and unfair," Iranian Ambassador to the IAEA Kazem Gharibabadi said in a statement, according to Reuters.
This issue may further complicate and threaten efforts to have Iran rejoin the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. Iran has not returned to the negotiating table since its presidential election in June.
"I would like to seriously convey my concerns over the aggrandizing of few insignificant old issues from the [IAEA] secretariat," said Gharibabadi.
"How is it possible that an insignificant amount of material belonging to two decades ago affect the peaceful nature of the nuclear program of a country, while that country is hosting more than 20 percent of the Agency's inspections at the global level," he questioned.
Earlier this week, Iran narrowly avoided censure by the IAEA, reaching an agreement to allow the agency to service nuclear monitoring equipment.
Newly elected Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi said earlier in September that Iran would be willing to rejoin nuclear talks, but without the “pressure” from Western powers.
"The Westerners and the Americans are after talks together with pressure ... What kind of talks is that? I have already announced that we will have talks on our government's agenda but not with ... pressure," Raisi said, adding that his administration would be seeking "goal-oriented negotiations" and for sanctions on Iran to be lifted.