Iran and UN watchdog reach deal over nuclear site monitoring

Iran and UN watchdog reach deal over nuclear site monitoring

Iran has agreed to allow the United Nations nuclear watchdog to service cameras used to monitor Iranian nuclear facilities.

Inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will also be permitted to replace the cameras’ memory cards, which will be kept in Iran.

Iran previously stated that it would only hand over camera footage from key nuclear sites if an agreement to lift US sanctions was reached.

The IAEA had complained that Iran was interfering with its monitoring efforts.

Western nations have accused Iran of attempting to develop nuclear weapons. Tehran has refuted this, claiming that its nuclear program is peaceful.

As negotiations on the monitoring equipment stalled, IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi flew to Tehran this week. During his visit, he met with Mohammad Eslami, the new director general of Iran’s nuclear agency.

Mr Grossi stated at a joint news conference that the “indispensable work” that Iran and the IAEA had to do “requires that we get to know each other”

Another agreement reached in 2015 between Tehran and six countries – the United States, the United Kingdom, France, China, Russia, and Germany – saw Tehran agree to halt some nuclear work in exchange for an end to international sanctions.

However, tensions between Iran and the West have risen since 2018, when then-President Donald Trump withdrew from the nuclear deal and reinstated US sanctions.

In 2019, Iran responded by violating many of the deal’s major provisions, such as enriching uranium closer to the purity required for nuclear weapons.

Washington and its European allies have urged Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi to return to the negotiating table.

Mr Raisi, who took office last month, has stated that he would support “any diplomatic plans” to lift “illegal” US sanctions against Iran.

The European Union has praised the latest agreement, claiming that it has created space for diplomacy. It was reached after the agency’s two confidential reports were leaked.

According to the reports, Iran previously refused to cooperate on the issue of monitoring equipment, as agreed under the 2015 nuclear deal.

They also claimed that no clear explanation had been provided for why uranium traces were discovered at several old, undeclared nuclear sites.

In August, US Vice President Joe Biden stated that if diplomacy failed to resolve Iran’s nuclear crisis, the US was “ready to turn to other options”

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Iran and UN watchdog reach deal over nuclear site monitoring