The UN nuclear watchdog (IAEA) describes the incident as 'unacceptable' while the US slams Iran, calling it harassment.

Female members of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) were physically abused and harassed by the Iranian security forces guarding an Iranian nuclear facility in Natanz, said the Wall Street Journal report on Tuesday quoting diplomats without indicating where they are from.

The incident purportedly happened in early June. One such case has revealed that a female IAEA inspector was subjected to an exorbitantly intrusive search by male security guards while the previously unreported episodes allegedly involved inappropriate touching of female inspectors and orders to remove some clothes for security reasons.

The US reportedly has demanded Iran to prevent such incidents from happening in the future, circulating a paper with The IAEA members before its member states’ board meeting this week. 

''Harassment of IAEA inspectors is absolutely unacceptable, and we strongly urge you to make clear in your national statement at the Board meeting that such conduct is deplorable and must end immediately, and that the Board should take appropriate action if further incidents are reported'' the paper states

According to one diplomat quoted by the Wall Street Journal, there had been at least four separate incidents of harassment while another indicated five to seven.

The first case was in early June and the recent one happened in the past few weeks, the diplomats affirmed.

The IAEA has confirmed the incidents but refrained from giving further details.

''The Agency immediately and firmly raised this issue with Iran to explain in very clear and unequivocal terms that such security-related incidents involving Agency staff are unacceptable and must not happen again,''  said the UN nuclear watchdog.

''Iran has provided explanations related to reinforced security procedures following events at one of their facilities. As a result of this exchange between the Agency and Iran, there have been no further incidents''

The statements surfaced with the escalated tensions between Iran and The IAEA over Iran's nuclear activities and lack of cooperation with the agency on access to the nuclear facility in Natanz.

On Tuesday, Iran’s ambassador to the IAEA, Kazem Gharibabadi had announced the increased security measures on social media while the Iranian officials have raised their criticism of the agency, accusing it of a political stance with a biased approach towards them.  

Earlier, Iran was confronted with similar accusations regarding the treatment of inspectors.

In 2019, a female IAEA inspector was detained at Tehran airport and taken back to a hotel while her travel documents were taken away. This incident occurred after an initiated investigation probe into the nuclear material found in Iran.

Other such cases allegedly happened prior to 2013, before serious negotiations started for a nuclear deal between the United States, three European countries, Russia and China.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies