Iran will not allow inspectors to interview its top scientists or accept “unreasonable demands” by world powers over its disputed nuclear program.
The warning comes as a June 30 deadline is drawing closer to resolve the decade-old standoff, Reuters reported Thursday.
“We will never yield to pressure … We will not accept unreasonable demands … Iran will not give access to its [nuclear] scientists,” Iran Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei said on state television.
“We will not allow the privacy of our nuclear scientists or any other important issue to be violated.”
Khamenei, who has the final say for Iran on any deal, last month ruled out any “extraordinary supervision measures” over nuclear activities and said military sites cannot not be inspected.
The United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has been trying to investigate Western allegations that Iran has worked on designing a nuclear warhead.
Iran insists its nuclear program is peaceful and that it is working with the IAEA to clear up any suspicions.
UN inspectors regularly monitor Iran’s declared nuclear facilities but the IAEA has complained for years of a lack of access to sites, equipment, documents and people relevant to its probe.
Western officials say Iran must step up cooperation with the IAEA if it wants to reach a broader diplomatic deal with world powers that would gradually end crippling financial and other sanctions on the oil producer.
“They say we should let them interview our nuclear scientists. This means interrogation,” Khamenei said.
“I will not let foreigners talk to our scientists and to interrogate our dear children … who brought us this extensive [nuclear] knowledge.”
Iran has yet to answer questions about two areas of the investigation into alleged research activities that could be applicable to any attempt to make nuclear bombs — explosives testing and neutron calculations.
Tehran reached a tentative deal with the powers on April 2 to allow UN inspectors to carry out more intrusive, short-notice inspections under an “Additional Protocol” to the Non-Proliferation Treaty.
There have been sharply differing interpretations from both sides on the details of that access.
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