Iran is hampering a long-running investigation into its controversial nuclear drive by refusing to allow experienced U.N. inspectors into the country, said the U.N. atomic watchdog on Monday.

In a new restricted report on Iran, a copy of which was obtained by AFP, the International Atomic Energy Agency complained that the “repeated objection by Iran to the designation of inspectors with experience in Iran's nuclear fuel cycle and facilities hampers the inspection process”.

It “thereby detracts from the agency's capability to implement effective and efficient safeguards in Iran,” the report continued.

The complaint follows Iran's recent decision to strip two experienced inspectors of the right to monitor Tehran's nuclear activities after they reported undeclared nuclear experiments conducted by Tehran. According to Iran, the reporting by the two was inaccurate.

But the IAEA stands by their findings and said it had “full confidence in the professionalism and impartiality of the inspectors concerned, as it has in all of its inspectors”.

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