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After query, AP says nuke watchdog didn't respond to after hour calls on Iran nuke claim

By Larisa Alexandrovna  Posted by Diane Sweet (about the submitter)     Permalink
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Update: After an inquiry by RAW STORY, the Associated Press' Director of Corporate Communications Jack Stokes said they could not reach the spokeswoman for the International Atomic Energy Agency after running a story asserting that Iran had barred 38 IAEA inspectors.

"IAEA spokeswoman Melissa Fleming and other agency officials did not immediately return after-hours calls from The Associated Press," AP reporter NASSER KARIMI wrote.

Raw Story's Larisa Alexandrovna received comment from the agency shortly after the story broke this morning. AP's original article didn't indicate if they'd called the IAEA about Iran's claims before filing with the headline, "Iran bars 38 IAEA nuclear inspectors."

Stokes did not say why the AP called the agency after hours.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is disputing claims that Iran has barred 38 nuclear inspectors from visiting the country, RAW STORY can reveal.

A Reuters report earlier today -- followed up by a report from AP -- sent shockwaves through the international community by airing allegations that Iran had kicked out inspectors from the U.N. atomic watchdog organization. Iran's Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki posited that Iran had barred 38 inspectors with the U.N. nuclear watchdog.

This, however, does not align with comments from the IAEA itself. Shockingly, no comment from the agency appeared in either Reuters or AP's article.

"We are discussing with Iran its request for withdrawing the designation of certain safeguards inspectors," IAEA spokeswoman Melissa Fleming said, in response to an email query from RAW STORY.

"It should be noted however," she added, "that there are a sufficient number of inspectors designated for Iran and the IAEA is able to perform its inspection activities in accordance with Iran's Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement."

Fleming did not say Iran had barred inspectors. She added, "Details of inspector designation is a confidential matter between the IAEA and the country concerned."

Sources within the IAEA told the German Press Agency (dpa) that while the ban was not a normal daily occurrence, there were still 150 designated inspectors for Iran, and that other countries had also, on occasion, withdrawn designations.

Raw Story's Michael Roston contributed reporting for this update.



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