IAEA reaches agreement with Iran on surveillance equipment

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Iran agrees to allow international inspectors to install new memory cards in surveillance cameras at its sensitive nuclear sites and to continue filming there, thus avoiding a diplomatic confrontation this week.

Iranian Atomic Energy Organization chief Mohammad Eslami and International Atomic Energy Agency chief Rafael Grossi attend a press conference, in Tehran, Iran, on September 12, 2021. (Reuters)

Iran and the UN nuclear agency have agreed to allow inspectors to maintain the agency’s surveillance equipment because Tehran has restricted access since the start of the year.

“IAEA inspectors are authorized to maintain the identified equipment and replace their storage media which will be kept under the joint seals of the IAEA and (Iran) AEOI in the Islamic Republic of Iran,” they said Sunday in a joint statement.

“The path and the timetable are agreed upon by both parties.”

Uranium enrichment in Iran

The announcement by Mohammad Eslami of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) after a meeting he had with the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Rafael Grossi, in Tehran still leaves the watchdog in the same position it has faced since February, however.

Tehran holds all the records on its sites as negotiations over the return of the United States and Iran to the 2015 nuclear deal remain at a standstill in Vienna.

Meanwhile, Iran is now enriching small amounts of uranium to its closest military-grade purity levels as its stocks continue to grow.

“I am happy to say that today we were able to have a very constructive result, which has to do with the continuity of the operation of the agency’s facilities here,” Grossi said.

It is “essential for us to provide the necessary guarantee and information to the IAEA and to the world that everything is in order”.

Eslami called the negotiations between Iran and the Vienna-based IAEA “purely technical” with no place for politics.

He said Grossi would return to Iran soon to speak with officials, without further details.

It was also not said whether Iran would hand over copies of the older recordings, which Tehran had threatened to destroy previously.

“Memory cards are sealed and kept in Iran on a routine basis,” Esmaili said.

“New memory cards will be installed in the cameras. This is a common and natural trend in the agency’s surveillance system.”

A joint statement issued by the IAEA and Iran confirmed the deal, saying only that “the manner and timing is agreed upon by both sides.”

Iran is buying time?

The announcement could save Iran time ahead of an IAEA board meeting this week in which Western powers pleaded for Tehran to be censored for its lack of cooperation with international inspectors.

Eslami said Iran would attend this meeting.

In Israel, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett urged world powers not to “fall into the trap of Iranian deception which will lead to further concessions” on the impasse.

From Riyadh, the top diplomats of Saudi Arabia and Austria have jointly expressed their concern over Iran’s nuclear advances, with Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg citing “Iran’s failure to allow the access to nuclear inspections “.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies


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