The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency said on Saturday that Iran had agreed to reconnect surveillance cameras at several nuclear sites and speed up inspections.
UN nuclear watchdog chief Rafael Grossi hailed “a marked improvement” in his discussions with the Iranian government.
Grossi negotiated with Iranian officials in Tehran after discovering uranium particles enriched to weapons-grade levels.
Upon his return to Vienna, Grossi recalled that “there was a reduction in surveillance activities related to cameras and surveillance systems” and said “we have agreed that they will work again”.
“It is very, very important” in terms of continuity of knowledge, “especially in terms of the possibility of a revival of the JCPOA”, he said.
Grossi arrived in Iran on Friday amid an impasse over reviving the landmark 2015 accord on Iran’s nuclear activity, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA.
On Saturday evening, he told reporters: “We have put a cap on the flow of information and the lack of continuity of knowledge that we have – so now we can start working again, rebuilding these bases of information “
He said the measures should happen “very soon” after the technical meeting, but a joint statement with the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) gave no exact timeline.
– Inspection –
Grossi’s two-day visit comes at a time when the Vienna-based IAEA is seeking greater cooperation with Iran on its nuclear activities.
In his series of meetings with Iranian officials, Grossi met with President Ebrahim Raisi.
Raisi acknowledged that “cooperation is a two-way street … (and) can continue on the basis of freedom of agency and upholding the rights of the Iranian nation,” tweeted Mohammad Jamshidi, political deputy to Iran’s presidency. Did.
A diplomatic source earlier told AFP that the meeting with Raisi was designed to “restart dialogue” on Iran’s nuclear work and “re-establish relations at the highest level”.
Uranium particles at Iran’s underground Fordo plant, about 100 kilometers (60 miles) south of Tehran, were enriched to 83.7 percent – less than the 90 percent needed to make a nuclear bomb, according to a confidential IAEA report seen by AFP. was needed. This week.
Grossi said the IAEA needed more inspections of the facility and that Iran had agreed to conduct “50 percent more inspections” there.
Iran denies seeking nuclear weapons, and says it has made no effort to enrich uranium beyond 60 percent purity.
However, Iran’s government has stated that “unexpected fluctuations … may occur” during the enrichment process.
The discovery came after Iran substantially modified an interconnection between two centrifuge clusters used to enrich uranium without declaring it to the IAEA.
– ‘obligation’ –
On Saturday, Iran’s top nuclear official Mohammad Eslami called on all parties to the 2015 accord to meet their “obligations”.
“Three European and some other countries are focusing on Iran’s JCPOA obligations,” he told reporters. “They also have obligations that they need to follow.”
“We came to an arrangement (with Grossi) to define our cooperation within the framework of safeguards on nuclear activity,” he said.
“The relevant authorities will decide” if a solution is reached, he said, and Iran’s nuclear agency will abide by that decision.
Eslami said, “Iran never sacrifices its national interests for anything else.”
Based on the outcome of Grossi’s visit, the US as well as Britain, France and Germany will decide whether to submit a draft resolution condemning Iran to the IAEA Board of Governors, which meets in Vienna next week.
Grossi also met Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdolahian on Saturday, official news agency IRNA reported.
The diplomatic source said that during his visit he aimed to secure “more access to the (Fordo) site, more oversight”.
– ‘More Collaboration’ –
The 2015 accord between Iran and world powers promised Tehran relief from cutting economic sanctions in exchange for curbs on its nuclear activities.
Sanctions set out in the deal, including a 3.67 percent enrichment cap, were aimed at preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons.
The United States unilaterally withdrew from the accord in 2018 under then-President Donald Trump and reimposed sanctions, prompting Iran to suspend implementation of its commitments.
Talks aimed at reviving the deal began in 2021 but have been stalled since last year.
Grossi’s visit has been seen in Iran as another sign that a dialogue-based approach to resolving the nuclear standoff is possible.
In November 2022, Western countries criticized Iran for lack of cooperation after traces of enriched uranium were found at three undeclared sites.
Kelsey Davenport, an expert at the Arms Control Association think-tank, said: “Iran’s willingness to increase surveillance is a positive and necessary step to reduce tensions and reduce the risk of miscalculation.”
But she warned that it was “vital” for all sides to take swift measures, and said the declaration “did not do enough to reduce the growing proliferation risk from Iran’s growing nuclear program.”
She said that the United States and European countries “should capitalize on this momentum with a diplomatic push to re-engage Iran in talks.”
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
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