Iran agreed to allow UN nuclear inspectors to install new memory cards in their cameras to monitor the country’s controversial nuclear program in a move that could sustain the life-support inspection process and even ease the way toward lifting sanctions. Americans.
Rafael Grossi, head of the UN nuclear watchdog at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), reached an agreement in Tehran on Sunday after two hours of talks and will report to the IAEA board on Monday.
Their breakthrough makes it less likely that European states and the United States will file a vote of no confidence against Iran that would have been passed to the UN security council.
Grossi had been preparing to inform the IAEA that its ad hoc arrangements to monitor the nuclear program reached in February had in fact failed. Iran, now led by a new hardline president, Ibrahim Raisi, after the June elections, had been blocking a visit from Grossi, leaving European states little choice from their perspective but to censure Iran.
The director of the Atomic Energy Association of Iran, Mohammad Eslami, said that he had had constructive talks with Grossi and that new memory cards would be installed as a result. Existing memory cards showing Iranian activity at its main nuclear sites will remain in Iran under what is described as a joint stamp. It has also been agreed that the cameras can be repaired. No further details were given in the joint statement, other than that the two sides had reached an agreement on how to do so.
Grossi will return to Tehran at a later date for what is described in a joint statement as “high-level consultations with the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
The talks will aim to revitalize what had previously been an intrusive inspection process. Iran’s parliament in February, pressuring the previous administration led by Hassan Rouhani, had ordered the government to withdraw from the agreement covering UN inspections.
This left the IAEA increasingly in the dark about how Iran was developing its nuclear program. Iran had admitted that it was using more sophisticated centrifuges with a purity of 60%. The deal allows Iran to produce enriched uranium, but only at an underground plant in Natanz and only with first-generation IR-1 machines, which are much less efficient. It also limits the purity to which Iran can enrich uranium to 3.67%.
Following their talks on Sunday, Grossi said he would return to Iran to continue talks to build trust between the IAEA and the new government.
Tehran’s growing risky policy had antagonized Russia, a natural ally, and also led to mounting pressure on the United States from the main regional adversaries of Iran, Israel and Saudi Arabia, to admit that talks on the reactivation of the nuclear deal they were at a dead end that required a new, more aggressive strategy.
The US special envoy for Iran, Robert Malley, had held talks in Moscow and Paris last week before the IAEA board meeting. The UK had been represented at the Paris meeting by its former ambassador to Iran, Robert Macaire, an indication that the British diplomat will keep Iran’s dossier even though he left the embassy in the summer.
A motion of no confidence at the IAEA board meeting would have seriously jeopardized the stalled talks between the United States and Iran over the lifting of most sanctions by the United States in exchange for clear Iranian compliance with the nuclear deal. signed in 2015. Those talks have been on hold since Raisi’s election. , in part because he needed to appoint a new negotiating team.
Former Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif has been replaced by Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, but Iran said little about whether it wanted to restart the negotiating strategy. The United States said the talks had in principle reached a broad agreement on lifting the sanctions, a measure that would also lead to the release of up to 10 people with dual citizenship.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism