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Iran Insists Missing Video From Nuclear Site Lost Due To 'Sabotage'

By RFE/RL December 18, 2021

Iran's Atomic Energy Organization has rejected that it is responsible for the loss of surveillance video from a centrifuge-parts-production site, suggesting that the data was lost due to an attack on the plant this summer.

"The records were destroyed by an act of sabotage," the agency said in December 18 press statement after the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said it had "doubts" about Iran's explanation for the missing video.

Iran has blamed Israel for the June attack on the facility in Karaj, west of Tehran, and until recently blocked access to the site because it was considered a crime scene.

The missing surveillance-video footage has raised concerns that Iran could be hiding increased nuclear activities.

The IAEA was only recently allowed to replace damaged surveillance cameras at the site, and on December 17 the UN's nuclear watchdog said Tehran had not provided a convincing explanation for the lost data.

When asked in Vienna whether he thought the data could have been destroyed in the June attack, IAEA chief Rafael Grossi said, "We have doubts about that."

"This is why we are asking them, 'Where is it?' I'm hopeful that they are going to come up with an answer because it is very strange that it disappears," Grossi said.

The development comes as Iran and world powers are negotiating in an effort to restart a stalled nuclear deal worked out in 2015 under which Tehran had agreed to curbs on its controversial nuclear program in exchange for relief from punitive economic sanctions.

The United States withdrew from the accord in 2018, leaving Iran to consider the deal broken and to resume many of the activities, including the production of centrifuges, that it had agreed to halt or limit.

Under the administration of President Joe Biden, Washington has expressed interest in rejoining the agreement if Iran returns to full compliance.

The centrifuges manufactured at the Karaj facility have applications for producing enriched uranium that can be used to fuel both nuclear reactors and, possibly, nuclear weapons.

The latest round of negotiations on restarting the nuclear pact wrapped up on December 17 and participants have expressed optimism they could resume before the end of the year.

With reporting by dpa, Reuters, and AP

Source: https://www.rferl.org/a/iran-nuclear- video-sabotage/31615405.html

Copyright (c) 2021. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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