Nuclear Inspectors Return To Iran
The inspectors, from the United Nation’s International Atomic Energy Agency, returned to Tehran on Monday for the second time in a month. Iranian officials say the nuclear program is strictly for energy purposes, but the IAEA team maintains the program has “possible military dimensions” and that is why they are investigating.
The inspection three weeks ago did little to determine the actual purpose of the nuclear program and is the latest in series of visits over the last few months.
From the BBC:
But last November, the IAEA said it had information suggesting Iran had carried out tests "relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device".
That information led to a decision by the US and the European Union to tighten sanctions against Iran, including measures targeting the country's lucrative oil industry.
Monday’s visit comes as Iran banned shipments of Oil to the United Kingdom and France amid sanctions imposed by those countries. The New York Times reports:
[T]he Iranian government signaled that it might expand the ban on oil shipments to Britain and France, announced on Sunday, to cover other European powers that it deems “hostile” because of broader economic sanctions by the European Union that are scheduled to come into force on July 1. The ban was apparently announced to pre-empt those sanctions, which include a boycott on new purchases.
Iran’s deputy oil minister, Ahmad Qalebani, said that oil exports to Spain, the Netherlands, Greece, Germany, Italy and Portugal might also be banned, state media reported.
There is also fear in some circles that Israel will stage an attack aimed at knocking out Iran’s nuclear capabilities. This fear was heightened after the Iranian government allegedly carried out attacks against Israeli targets in India, Georgia and Thailand last week. The Iranian government denied responsibility for those attacks but did call for military exercises on Monday.
All this is taking its toll on consumers as oil prices hit a nine-month high on Monday, coming in at more than $104 a barrel.