Iranian officials are investigating whether nuclear monitoring cameras set up by International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) at sensitive facilities were sabotaged and manipulated by Israeli intelligence in order to conduct espionage and strikes on said facilities.
Iran’s envoy to the UK, Mohsen Baharvand, repeated the allegations Friday, and asked the IAEA for time to probe the matter. "There was a sabotage there by Israel and some cameras were damaged and there was some investigation going on," the ambassador said according to Bloomberg.
But the UN nuclear weapons watchdog has consistently and "categorially" denied its cameras were used to assist in Israeli attacks. In particular, the Iranians believe this may have been the case for an Israeli drone attack in June that damaged the Iran Centrifuge Technology Company facility in the city of Karaj, which lies northwest of Tehran.
Previously the Iranians informed the UN and IAEA that "its ‘security and judicial authorities’ were investigating whether the terrorists have used the Agency cameras to launch an attack on the complex" - in reference to the alleged Israeli strikes.
As The Times of Israel details, it's led to an ongoing spat over continued monitoring. Iran has blocked or refused to repair monitoring devices at some sites, while the IAEA is demanding further access. "In September, Iran acknowledged that it had removed several damaged surveillance cameras installed by the IAEA at the Karaj site. It has since refused requests to repair the surveillance equipment damaged in the June attack," the report said.
Nuclear monitoring authorities have since charged Iran with intentional stalling and refusing to accept the mandated inspection mission in accord with the original JCPOA. All of this is adding pressure to continuing talks in Vienna, where the US side is said to be running out of patience and questioning the Iranian side's "seriousness".
Meanwhile, no doubt adding to Tehran's perhaps legitimate paranoia, a bombshell New York Times report revealed Saturday the that Israel has been consulting with the United States over covert strikes on Iranian facilities. The White House is believed to have 'green lighted' some of these attacks.
However, there's been disagreement: "More recently, they have disagreed about the wisdom of Israeli sabotage of Iranian facilities, which Mr. Bennett’s government believes has set back the program, and which some in the United States argue only encourages the Iranians to build back the nuclear enrichment facilities with more efficient, up-to-date equipment," NY Times wrote.