Atomic Energy Agency IAEA is continuing controls in Iran for the time being

Nuclear deal

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif at a meeting with IAEA chief Rafael Grossi.


Vienna, Tehran The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) can continue controls on the Iranian nuclear program for the time being. IAEA chief Rafael Grossi negotiated this with the Iranian Atomic Energy Agency during a visit to Tehran, as he said on Sunday evening after his return to Vienna Airport. Grossi had traveled to Iran after the country announced this week that it would restrict IAEA inspections of the country’s nuclear facilities.

“We have a reasonable result,” said Grossi. However, the inspectors would not have the same access as before. But he still assumes that the inspectors can do their job. They are supposed to verify whether the Iranian nuclear program is only used for civil purposes as agreed. The technical agreement is initially valid for three months, said Grossi. He hoped that a broader agreement could be reached by then.

The background to this is the conflict over the Vienna nuclear deal with Iran from 2015. The agreement between Iran and the USA, Germany, France, Great Britain, Russia and China should prevent the construction of a nuclear weapon, and in return the sanctions against Tehran should be lifted become.

However, former US President Donald Trump got out of the deal in 2018 and instead imposed draconian new sanctions. Since 2019, Iran has also withdrawn step by step from the agreement and violated the agreements contained therein, for example by increasing uranium enrichment and uranium metal production. Low uranium enrichment and IAEA inspections were among the key points of the Vienna Agreement.

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The Iranian leadership had made it clear before Grossi’s arrival that the restrictions on IAEA inspections could not be lifted entirely. “This is a parliamentary decision that we must implement,” said Foreign Minister Javad Zarif to the news channel Press TV on Sunday.

According to this, the IAEA should no longer have access to the video material from the surveillance cameras in the nuclear facilities. “We will only give access to the videos again when the US has fulfilled its obligations in the nuclear agreement and lifted the sanctions,” said Sarif. The IAEA has video cameras in almost all systems to follow the activities live. It was initially unclear whether the video surveillance would continue with the new temporary arrangement.

Economic crisis could have domestic political consequences

Trump’s sanctions plunged the oil-rich country into the worst economic crisis in its history. This could also have domestic political consequences in the Iranian election year. Therefore, Iran insists that the only end to nuclear violations is if the US returns to the agreement and immediately lifts the sanctions.

The US government saw the leadership in Tehran on the train, as did the National Security Advisor in the White House, Jake Sullivan, on Sunday the broadcaster CBS News said. President Joe Biden is ready to return to the negotiating table to talk to the Iranians about “how we can get back strict restrictions on their nuclear program.” The State Department in Washington offered talks with Iran on Thursday. Iran has not yet responded to the offer to talk.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Sarif on Sunday again rejected a nuclear meeting planned by the EU with the US without the lifting of US sanctions. “The US cannot easily return to the nuclear deal,” Sarif told Press TV news channel. Before such a meeting, the agreement would have to be implemented in accordance with the treaty and, in particular, the US sanctions would have to be lifted, said the Foreign Minister.

More: When it comes to the nuclear deal with Iran, Joe Biden has to make an offer, says Handelsblatt author Mathias Brüggmann.

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