Iran has revoked the accreditation of an inspector of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which last week was prevented from entering a nuclear facility.
The Iranian Atomic Energy Organization (AEOI) stated that an alarm was triggered when a woman went through a screening at a Natanz enrichment plant.
Officials fear she carries "suspicious material," she added.
There is no comment from the IAEA responsible for monitoring Iran's compliance with the nuclear deal. [1
This is the fourth such step that Iran has taken in response to sanctions imposed by US President Donald Trump when he abandoned the nuclear deal last year.
agreement, Iran agreed to limit its sensitive nuclear activities and to allow international inspectors in return for lifting crippling economic sanctions.
Mr Trump wants to force Iran to negotiate a new agreement that puts unlimited restrictions on its nuclear program and also stop the development of ballistic missiles. But Iran is refusing so far.
The other parties to the deal – Britain, France, Germany, China and Russia – are trying to keep it alive. The sanctions, however, led to a collapse in oil exports from Iran and the value of its currency dropped and sent a rise in inflation.
The Natans incident seems to be the first of its kind since the nuclear deal was implemented.
In a statement, AEOI said that the inspector was denied entry into the facility after a routine inspection suggested the possible presence of "suspicious material".
Iran announces IAEA incident and revokes accreditation of inspector added. As a result, she left the country for Austria.
Three diplomats familiar with the work of the IAEA told Reuters that the inspector had taken her travel documents and two said she had been detained briefly.
The IAEA has not yet commented on the issue, which is expected to be raised at a special meeting of its 35-nation board of governors in Vienna on Thursday.
There are concerns about how nuclear inspectors will perform their work in the future.
The Board of Governors will also discuss a report by Iran on its failure to cooperate with IAEA inspectors investigating how uranium traces were discovered at a site in the Turkzabad area of Tehran, where Israel said there was once a "secret nuclear warehouse ".
Under the nuclear deal, Iran is required to grant the IAEA "regular access, including daily access at the request of the IAEA, to the relevant Natanz buildings".
Prior to 2015, Iran had two enrichment facilities – Natanz and Ford – where uranium hexafluoride was fed into centrifuges to separate the farthest isotope, U-235.
The deal saw Iran agree to only produce low enriched uranium, which has a 3-4% concentration of U-235, and could be used to produce fuel for nuclear power plants. Weapon-grade uranium is enriched by 90% or more.
Iran also agreed to install no more than 5,060 of the oldest and most efficient centrifuges in Natanz by 2026 and not to enrich any Fordo by 2031. 1,044 Fordo centrifuges had to be rotated without injection gas.
On Monday, the head of the AEOI said it had doubled the number of advanced centrifuges operated at Natanz. Ali Akbar Salehi told reporters that he now owns 60 IR-6 centrifuges and that he can enrich uranium to 20% concentration "within four minutes" of receiving an order.
Shortly after midnight on Thursday, Iran began injecting uranium hexafluoride into Fordo centrifuges under the supervision of the IAEA and the enrichment process began, state media reported.
President Hassan Ruhani said on Tuesday that Iran is aware of the "sensitivity" of other parties to a deal to enrich Fordo, which was secretly built about 90 meters (300 feet) below the mountain to protect it from air strikes. .
French President Emmanuel Macron said on Wednesday that the resumption of enrichment in Ford was a "profound change" from Iran's previous position.
"I will have discussions in the coming days, including with the Iranians, and we must collectively reap the consequences," he told reporters in Beijing.
United Kingdom Foreign Minister Dominic Raab said that Iran must "honor its commitments and urgently return to full compliance".