Iran and the IAEA announced on Sunday a “temporary” agreement to maintain surveillance of nuclear activities, although reduced. This period should allow diplomatic talks to begin between the signatories of the 2015 pact in order to try to break the deadlock.
“Access will be reduced, let’s not hide our face, but we will be able to maintain the necessary degree of surveillance and verification,” assured Rafael Grossi, the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency ( IAEA), on his return to Vienna after “intensive consultations” in Tehran. “It saves the day for the day.”
Iranian law, which plans to limit certain inspections, including on suspicious military sites, if American sanctions are not lifted, “exists and will be applied” from February 23, he regretted.
This three-month “technical bilateral agreement” may be suspended at any time. It provides that the number of on-site inspectors will remain unchanged and that unannounced checks will remain possible. “Of course, to achieve a stable situation, it will take political negotiation, and that is not my responsibility,” added Rafael Grossi.
Inspections reduced by around 20-30% after the law is implemented
For its part, Iran had mentioned earlier discussions “fruitful”, while the director of the IAEA met the president of the Iranian Atomic Energy Organization (OIEA), Ali Akbar Salehi, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohammad Javad Zarif.
Rafael Grossi will be able “to fulfill his obligation to show that the Iranian nuclear program remains peaceful”, promised the head of Iranian diplomacy in a statement to Press TV, the channel in English of the state television.
According to Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi, “inspections will be reduced by around 20-30% after the law is implemented.” “This certainly does not mean a withdrawal from the agreement” of 2015.
On the other hand, Iran will not provide the “recordings relating to the activities and equipment” of several sites, as provided for by the law passed by Parliament in December, the OIEA said in a statement, apparently referring to data from the cameras. monitoring. “If the sanctions are completely lifted within three months, this information will be communicated to the IAEA, otherwise it will be deleted forever.”
A complex diplomatic context
The Vienna agreement, concluded with the 5 + 1 group (United States, France, Germany, Great Britain, Russia, China), provides for a gradual lifting of sanctions in exchange for the guarantee that Iran would not acquire of the atomic weapon. Even if the Islamic Republic has always denied having such intentions.
After the unilateral American withdrawal in 2018 and the reinstatement of the sanctions that strangle the Iranian economy, Iran however freed itself, from 2019, from several limits that it had agreed to impose on its nuclear program. “Once everyone has done their part and fulfilled their obligations, then there will be (a resumption) of discussions,” Mohammad Javad Zarif repeated Sunday.
On the same subject:
Since Joe Biden came to power, who said he was ready to return to the agreement, the United States and Iran have been passing the buck on who should take the first step. Washington on Thursday accepted an invitation from Europeans to participate in talks on the subject. But the next day, Joe Biden called on his allies to work together to respond to Iran’s “destabilizing activities” in the Middle East.
In this complex diplomatic context and while Iran and the United States have not had diplomatic relations since 1980, Tehran said it was examining the EU’s proposal for an “informal meeting”. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, for his part, called for seizing the “window of opportunity” to end the sanctions, a request he considers “legal and logical”.