Iran has alleged that the UN inspector it blocked from a nuclear site last week tested positive for suspected traces of explosive nitrates.
The allegation made by Kazem Gharib Abadi, Iran’s representative at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), came as Tehran injected uranium gas into centrifuges at its underground Fordo complex on Thursday, taking its most significant step away from its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers.
These latest steps by Iran put additional pressure on Europe to offer Tehran a way to sell its crude oil abroad despite the US sanctions imposed on the country after President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew America from the nuclear deal over a year ago.
The entrance to the nuclear complex includes equipment to check for traces of nitrates, Mr Abadi said.
“The detector’s alarm went off and it was signalling to a specific person,” he said. “They have repeated this procedure again and again, and unfortunately, the results were the same all the way for only that specific inspector.”
As they waited for a female employee to search the inspector, the woman went off to the toilet.
Mr Abadi alleged when she came back, she no longer tested positive. He said the team took samples from the toilet, as well as seizing her handbag.
Mr Abadi said he hoped further tests by Iran and the IAEA would explain what happened. Iran’s nuclear industry has been targeted by sabotage and its scientists assassinated in the past.
“Needless to say that Iran, like all other members of the agency, cannot condone any behaviour or action which may be against the safety and security of its nuclear installations, especially … considering the past sabotage attempts in its nuclear facilities,” Mr Abadi said.