TEHRAN, Iran – Iran has barred 38 members of a UN inspection team from entering the country but has admitted others, Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki told the official news agency Monday, in what appeared to be retaliation for the U.N. sanctions imposed last month.
"The act of rejecting some inspectors is legal and in accordance with the agency's regulations," Mottaki was quoted as saying, referring to the International Atomic Energy Agency, the UN watchdog.
"The International Atomic Energy Agency submits a long list of inspectors to member countries and the countries have the right to oppose the visit by some inspectors," Mottaki told the official Islamic Republic News Agency.
The head of the parliamentary committee of national security and foreign policy, Alaeddin Borojerdi, had been quoted by a students' news agency as saying Iran had barred 38 inspectors.
Last month, the UN Security Council imposed limited trade sanctions on Iran because of its refusal to cease uranium enrichment, a process that produces the material for nuclear reactors or bombs. Days later, the country's parliament passed a motion that obliged the government to revise its cooperation with the IAEA, but gave it a free hand to determine the steps to be taken.
The United States and some of its allies accuse Tehran of trying to develop nuclear weapons. Iran denies this, saying its program is only to produce electricity from nuclear sources.