Iran shuts nuclear facilities and cancels inspections amid fears of Israeli attack

by James Crisp at

Iran closed down its nuclear facilities amid fears of an Israeli attack, the United Nations has revealed.

Inspectors were blocked from the sites on Sunday, Rafael Grossi, the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency chief, said.

The shutdown came as Israel’s war cabinet was locked in talks over how to respond to Iran’s first direct attack on its territory.

Experts have warned Iran is on the “threshold” of becoming a nuclear power and could build a bomb in six months to a year. Uranium enrichment is accelerating as the regime faces calls to create a deterrent.

There is limited evidence the Islamic Republic wants to create a nuclear bomb, and Israel is not understood to be preparing an imminent attack on nuclear facilities.

But Mr Grossi said UN inspectors in Iran “were informed by the Iranian government that… all the nuclear facilities we are inspecting every day would remain closed on security considerations” following the Iranian strikes.

He added that the facilities reopened on Monday but the inspectors would not be coming back there until some time on Tuesday.

The UN inspections are a legacy of the now defunct Iran nuclear deal, which exchanged sanctions relief for curbs and monitoring of the nuclear programme to prevent Tehran getting the bomb.

Inspectors this year found Iran was scaling up production of nuclear fuel approaching weapons grade uranium.

They also found newly installed equipment, ever faster speeds of uranium enrichment, and a planned expansion to double output.

The country’s Atomic Energy Organisation also used the term “deterrence” in relation to its nuclear programme earlier this year.