Tuesday, January 18

US and Europe reject IAEA warning in hopes of reviving Iran nuclear deal | Iran nuclear deal

The United States and Europe have decided to set aside a new warning from the director general of the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that it is no longer possible to say with confidence whether Iran is looking to build a bomb, as they continue to go ahead with trying. reactivate its nuclear agreement with the West.

Rafael Grossi says Iran is not cooperating or providing any answers to questions his agency has asked after it found nuclear particles at four undeclared sites.

Grossi’s findings were reported at an IAEA board meeting in Vienna and are deeply uncomfortable for the United States, France, Germany, and the United Kingdom, which have collectively decided that the prize of a revived nuclear deal is so great that they will not act. in consecuense. complaints from the UN nuclear inspection, even if this temporarily jeopardizes the integrity of the UN inspection process.

The sixth round of nuclear talks is due to begin in Vienna on Thursday in the hope that a brief pause to allow delegations to consult national capitals will achieve the required progress; allow the United States to rejoin the nuclear deal; Sanctions against Iran will be lifted and Iran itself will once again fully comply. The backdrop to the tense Iranian presidential election – a second television debate will take place on Tuesday – is making it difficult to reach a deal.

Speaking to the IAEA board on Monday, Grossi said: “Lack of progress in clarifying the agency’s questions about the accuracy and completeness of Iran’s safeguards statements seriously affects the IAEA’s ability to ensure the peaceful nature. of Iran’s nuclear program. “

Grossi is especially exasperated because he believed he had reached a new understanding with Iran about his investigations after a visit to Iran was supposed to inject new urgency into a process that has continued since 2018.

It has always been open to E3 – France, Germany and the UK – to put non-cooperation in the dispute mechanism or to table a motion at the board to condemn Iran.

Grossi told the board: “After many months, Iran has not provided the necessary explanation for the presence of nuclear material particles in any of the three places where the agency has made complementary accesses. In the absence of such an explanation from Iran, I am deeply concerned that there has been nuclear material in the three undeclared locations in Iran and that the agency does not know the current locations of this nuclear material. Iran has also not responded to questions regarding the other undeclared location, nor has it clarified the current location of the metal disc-shaped natural uranium. “

He continued: “Since my last report, Iran has not provided new information regarding a location; Has not responded to any of the agency’s questions or provided information regarding two other locations; and provided a written statement in a fourth place without any supporting documentation. The presence of multiple uranium particles of anthropogenic origin in three locations in Iran not declared to the agency, as well as the presence of isotopically altered particles in one of these locations, is a clear indication that nuclear materials and / or equipment contaminated by Nuclear material has been present in these places. “

In a tweet just before the board meeting, Russian Ambassador to the IAEA Mikhail Ulyanov said that despite difficult reports, everyone understood the need not to interfere in talks on the nuclear deal.

A satellite photo of the Natanz nuclear facility in Iran
A satellite photo of the Natanz nuclear facility in Iran. Photograph: Planet Labs Inc./AP

Separately, Grossi has reported on Iran’s moves to move away from the limitations imposed by the 2015 agreement. He reports that Iran managed to produce 2.4 kilograms (5.3 pounds) of highly enriched uranium in the six weeks since the saboteurs attacked the country’s main enrichment facility in Natanz. The April 11 attack prompted Iran to begin enriching uranium to 60% purity levels, just below the threshold normally used in bombs.

Western diplomats say Iranian risky policy teeters on the edge of what is tolerable in the negotiations, or will likely make it impossible to sell the deal to national public opinion.


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