Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) announced on Sunday February 21 an agreement “Temporary” to maintain surveillance of Tehran’s nuclear activities. The goal, although the surveillance in question is limited, is to give time for diplomatic talks to engage between the signatories of the 2015 pact in an attempt to break the impasse.
Iranian law, which provides for limiting certain inspections if US sanctions are not lifted, “Exists and will be applied” from February 23, regretted the Director General of the IAEA, Rafael Grossi, on his return to Vienna after “Intense consultations” in Tehran.
“Access will be reduced, let’s face it, but we will be able to maintain the necessary degree of monitoring and verification”, he assured. “This saves the situation immediately”.
“It will take a political negotiation”
Under the terms of this “Technical bilateral agreement” for a period of three months but liable to be suspended at any time, the number of on-site inspectors thus remains unchanged and unannounced checks will remain possible. “Of course, to achieve a stable situation, it will take a political negotiation, and it is not my responsibility”Mr Grossi added.
For its part, Iran had mentioned earlier discussions “Fruitful”, while the IAEA Director met the President of the Iranian Atomic Energy Organization (OIEA), Ali Akbar Salehi, and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.
Mr. Grossi may “Fulfill its obligation to show that the Iranian nuclear program remains peaceful”, promised the head of Iranian diplomacy in a statement to Press TV, the English channel of state television. According to Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi, “Inspections will be reduced by around 20-30% after the implementation of the law”. “This certainly does not mean a withdrawal from the agreement” of 2015.
On the other hand, Iran will not provide the “Records relating to 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 surveillance cameras. “If the sanctions are completely lifted within three months, this information will be communicated to the IAEA, otherwise it will be deleted forever”.
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.
A “window of opportunity” for Erdogan
After the unilateral American withdrawal 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 [une reprise] discussions “, repeated Sunday Mr. Zarif.
Since the coming to power of Joe Biden, who said he was ready to return to the agreement left in 2018 by Donald Trump, the United States and Iran have been passing the buck on the question of who should take the first step .
In a gesture, Washington on Thursday accepted an invitation from Europeans to participate in talks on the subject. But the next day, the new White House host called on his allies to work together to respond to “Destabilizing activities” from Iran to 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 a “Informal meeting”. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called for seizing the “Window of opportunity” to end the sanctions, a request he considers “Legal and logical”.
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