UN's Atomic Energy agency under scrutiny for support and training of Iranian researchers in Russia

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), a part of the UN system, has been supporting Iranian researchers for years and sending them to Russia for training, according to the documents obtained by BILD am SONNTAG.

According to these documents, representatives of the UN agency met with Javad Karimi-Sabet in Vienna at the beginning of 2022. Karimi-Sabet has been on the US sanctions list since 2020 and is considered one of the key figures behind Iran's nuclear bomb development. Internal email correspondence suggests that the IAEA paid Karimi for attending the meeting. Due to sanctions, a bank transfer was impossible, so he was paid in cash.

In 2018, the US withdrew from the nuclear agreement with Iran and tightened sanctions against Tehran. Consequently, the deal fell apart, Iran stopped adhering to the regulations, and limited external oversight. Confidential documents indicate that the IAEA subsequently launched funding programs for Iranian nuclear science. By the end of 2019, IAEA defined the aim of project “IRA2018001” in consultation with Iranians: “The activities will focus on enhancing the expertise and knowledge of scientists and improving the hardware and software infrastructure, thereby improving the operation and use of research reactors.”

Research reactors are considered potential plutonium sources. For a nuclear bomb, either uranium enriched to 90% or plutonium is required.

BILD am SONNTAG reports that the IAEA also funded numerous training programs for Tehran’s scientists in Russia: according to available information, selected experts sometimes spent weeks there "under the wing" of Russia's "Rosatom."

The available information supports suspicions from Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky: shortly after the Russian invasion, he claimed the existence of a Russia-Iran alliance. According to him, the mullah regime received "support for Iran's nuclear program" from Moscow in exchange for the supply of drones.

An IAEA representative confirmed the training in Russia: “The IAEA Technical Cooperation (TC) programme supports Member States in ... developing and managing nuclear knowledge.” The organization was supposed to ensure that Iranians did not gain any knowledge of nuclear weapons during the training.

  IAEA, Iran, Russia