Iran stops using nuclear site after attack, says UN watchdog

Iran moves nuclear work to another site in Isfahan, the UN watchdog says

epa04845906 (FILE) A file picture dated 03 February 2007 shows an Iranian technecian at the International Atomic Energy Agency inspecting the site of the uranium conversion plan of Isfahan, central Iran. Foreign ministers from six world powers and Iran finally achieved an agreement to prevent the Islamic republic from developing nuclear weapons, Western diplomats said in Vienna on 14 July 2015.  EPA/ABEDIN TAHERKENAREH *** Local Caption *** 52054282
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Iran has told the International Atomic Energy Agency it has stopped production at one of its nuclear centres that was attacked last June and transferred work to another site, the watchdog said Monday.

The move responded to a "security concern" after the attack, with the new site "better protected", a European diplomat told AFP.

The Tesa complex in Karaj, which is near the capital Tehran, hosted a workshop to build parts for centrifuges, which are used to enrich uranium.

Iran said cameras at the site were damaged on June 23, 2021, during what it called an Israeli "sabotage" operation.

Afterwards, the IAEA in Vienna said it did not receive permission to gain access and replace the surveillance equipment damaged in the attack.

The two parties finally struck an agreement in December and new cameras were installed.

But IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi said "Iran had informed the Agency on 19 January that it intended to produce centrifuge rotor tubes and bellows at a new location in Isfahan", according to the UN watchdog.

"The agency could adjust its surveillance and monitoring measures accordingly.

"A few days later, agency inspectors applied seals on all the relevant machines in the Karaj workshop, placed them under containment and then removed the surveillance cameras installed there.

"As a result, the production of centrifuge rotor tubes and bellows at the Karaj workshop had ceased."

On January 24 IAEA inspectors set up cameras at a site in Isfahan "to ensure the machines intended for the production of centrifuge rotor tubes and bellows were under monitoring".

It said the production of the centrifuge equipment at the new workshop had yet to begin.

Iran has sharply accelerated its nuclear activities in the years since 2018, when US president Donald Trump withdrew from the 2015 international nuclear deal and imposed sweeping sanctions on Tehran.

The 2015 deal — struck between Iran and the US, Germany, France, Britain, China and Russia — offered Tehran relief from international sanctions in return for curbs on its nuclear programme.

After President Joe Biden entered the White House in January 2021, talks to revive the nuclear deal began in April in Vienna.

But they stopped for several months as Iran elected a new ultraconservative government.

The talks finally resumed in late November and are now in their final phase, which requires political decisions, parties involved in the talks say.

Updated: January 31, 2022, 11:50 PM