In a speech on Wednesday, Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, informed military commanders that Iran’s military sites and scientists would be off-limits to investigators.
Included in his speech is the notion “that Iran will resist “coercion and excessive demands” from America and other world powers.” This comes from Khamenei claiming that Iran is seeing increased pressure from America to increase the level of access for U.N. Inspectors.
Earlier this week the same sentiments were echoed by a senior advisor of Khamenei, Ali Akbar Velayati, who is “accusing the Americans of changing their position and toughening their stance as the deadline approaches.” These recent comments seem to contradict earlier progress made toward a nuclear inspection deal between the U.N. and Iran. Whether it is coming from the U.N. or Iranian side, Velayati says, “this turns into an obstacle.”
The previous agreement came in with some fanfare in March. The original plan stated “Iran would be required to grant the U.N. nuclear agency access to any ‘suspicious sites.'” Apparently the current disagreement comes from whether the U.N. could identify a military site as a “suspicious site.”
Khamenei seems to be particularly protective of the state scientists. He even goes so far as to say, “I will not allow foreigners to interview — which is tantamount to interrogation.” His stance appears to want to protect scientists from foreign influence and keep any state military secrets safe from the same inspectors Iran agreed to let in originally.
The renewed tensions started with a meeting in Vienna with Iran and negotiators of the six nation group of the U.S., Russia, Germany, France, China, and Britain. If the new round of talks are successful, then a deal is hoped to be finalized by June 30th. The completed deal would be one that, “curbs Iran’s nuclear program in return for lifting economic sanctions.”
As of Wednesday the nuclear discussion in Vienna is still ongoing.