IAEA Iran nuclear agreement
White House expresses confidence over IAEA and Iran arrangementHeinz-Peter Bader/Reuters

The Obama administration has expressed confidence that the arrangement between the International Agency for Atomic Energy (IAEA) and Iran will work amid revelations that the UN nuclear body allowed Tehran experts to inspect their own key nuclear site.

The White House insisted that purported agreement between the IAEA and Iran is different from the comprehensive nuclear deal signed by Tehran and P5+1 powers in July.

White House National Security Council spokesperson Ned Price said: "As the administration has said before - including in classified briefings for both chambers of Congress — we are confident in the agency's technical plans for investigating the possible military dimensions of Iran's former program, issues that in some cases date back more than a decade."

Washington's response has come shortly after the Associated Press reported that the UN's nuclear arm has permitted the Iranian scientists to investigate the Parchin facility, which is suspected to have been used for a covert programme for developing nuclear weapons.

Such an unusual arrangement as concession is "unprecedented", a former senior IAEA official claimed, as it is bound to raise serious concerns among critics.

"Just as importantly, the IAEA is comfortable with arrangements, which are unique to the agency's investigation of Iran's historical activities. When it comes to monitoring Iran's behaviour going forward, the IAEA has separately developed the most robust inspection regime ever peacefully negotiated to ensure Iran's current program remains exclusively peaceful, the overarching objective of the JCPOA [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action]. Beyond that, we are not going to comment on a purported draft IAEA document," Price added, without diving into the specifics of the arrangement. The White House stressed it was not an unusual arrangement but a routine technical plan.

The Parchin nuclear facility has been at the centre of a storm between Iran and Western powers as the US and Israeli experts suspect the military installation might have been used for high-explosive detonators – a claim which was strongly denied by Iran.