The International Atomic Energy Agency said Saturday that Iran had withdrawn accreditation from several inspectors, a move Teheran described as retaliation for "political abuses" by the United States, France, Germany and Britain.
"We have to ask them to review this decision," IAEA chief Rafael Grossi said in an interview with AFP.
"If they do not cooperate with the IAEA, they will not get what they want: the assurances they want to see, the confirmation they want to see, the approval of the international community."
Grossi also warned that military activity has been increasing around Ukraine's Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, occupied by Russian forces since March 2022.
"Military operations are increasing in the area, my inspectors are telling me that the level of military activity is palpable," Grossi told AFP. "It's loud, and it's getting closer."
He added: "Every day that passes without a nuclear accident is a good day for us."
Since the start of June, Kyiv's troops have led a counteroffensive in the area near Zaporizhzhia in the east and south of the country in an attempt to retake territory held by Russia since the start of the invasion in February 2022.
Kyiv says it is vital to regain control of the Zaporizhzhia plant, Europe's largest nuclear plant, with a capacity of 6,000 megawatts, in order to supply electricity to Ukraine.
Grossi said that a direct attack on the plant or the interruption of external power supply could lead to a nuclear accident with radiological consequences.
"So, what we need to do is to guarantee... that there is no deep degradation of the situation as we see it now," Grossi said.
- 'So far so good' -
Turning to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's recent trip to Russia and his meetings with President Vladimir Putin, Grossi expressed confidence that Moscow would not share nuclear technologies with Pyongyang.
Kim's tour of Russia's far east last week fanned Western fears that isolated, nuclear-armed Pyongyang could provide Moscow with weapons for its war in Ukraine. During the trip, North Korea's leader inspected everything from Russian space rockets to submarines.
"Personally, I don't have any indication and any reason to believe that meetings of this kind lead to proliferation risks," Grossi said.
Finally, Grossi vowed that his agency will continue checking the release of treated water from the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan, amid protests by China and concerns from the public.
"We are checking this every day. So far so good," Grossi said. "We do not take things for granted. We go and check and then we tell things as they are."
Japan began on August 24 discharging into the Pacific some of the 1.34 million tons of wastewater that has collected since a tsunami crippled the Fukushima facility more than a decade ago.
The water, equivalent to 540 Olympic pools, had been used to cool the three reactors that went into meltdown in 2011, in one of the world's worst nuclear catastrophes.
Japan insists that the discharge is safe, China banned all seafood imports from its neighbor, accusing it of treating the sea like a "sewer."
US-Iran ties since Trump quit nuclear deal
Paris (AFP) Sept 18, 2023 - Following are key dates in the storied relationship between the United States and its arch-rival Iran since Washington pulled out of a landmark nuclear pact with Tehran in 2018.
- 2018: nuclear deal walkout -
After years of mounting concern over Iran's nuclear enrichment programme, world powers reach a deal with Tehran on sanctions relief in exchange for guarantees it will not build an atomic bomb.
Three years later, then president Donald Trump pulls the United States out of the deal and reapplies the financial pain.
In April 2019, Washington designates Iran's elite military force, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, a terrorist organisation.
Tehran, meanwhile, begins rolling back some of the commitments it made under the nuclear deal on uranium enrichment.
- 2019: Gulf tensions -
In, 2019 tension mounts after attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf and on oil facilities in Saudi Arabia, for which the United States blames Iran.
In June Trump authorises -- and then calls off at the last moment -- a military strike after Iran shoots down an American drone.
- 2019: Soleimani killed -
In December, protesters storm the American embassy in Baghdad following deadly US air strikes on Iran-backed militiamen in Iraq and Syria.
On January 3, 2020, a US drone strike on Baghdad's international airport kills top Iranian general Qasem Soleimani and a pro-Iran Iraqi commander.
Tensions remain high throughout Trump's presidency, which ends in January 2021.
- 2022: nuclear deal 'dead' -
In April 2021 talks aimed at saving the international nuclear deal with Iran begin in Vienna.
The United States is indirectly invited for the first time since Joe Biden, a Democrat, was elected president.
The European Union, which is coordinating the talks, submits a compromise text in August 2022 but the negotiations fail.
At a campaign rally in November 2022, Biden says the deal is "dead" in all but name.
- September 2023: prisoner swap -
The two adversaries make more progress in talks over a prisoner swap, reaching an accord in August to release five Americans for five Iranians plus the unblocking of $6 billion in frozen Iranian assets.
It is the first deal with Iran's clerical leadership that Biden has reached in his two and a half years as president.
On September 18, five freed US detainees fly out of Tehran to Qatar and two of the five freed Iranian prisoners arrive in the Gulf state from the United States.
The timing of the exchange angers rights groups, coming two days after the first anniversary of the death in Iran of Mahsa Amini, a young Kurdish Iranian woman arrested for allegedly violating the country's strict headscarf law.
Despite the prisoner swap, Washington announces sanctions against dozens of Iranian officials and three media groups, as well as against Iran's intelligence ministry and former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
"We will continue to impose costs on Iran for their provocative actions in the region," Biden says.
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