The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and Iran have agreed on an interim solution to de-escalate the nuclear dispute.
IAEA chief Rafael Grossi announced on Sunday after talks in Tehran that due to the agreement, his organization could continue its controls in Iran on a limited basis for the next three months. The agreement was made against the backdrop of the diplomatic tug-of-war to revive the nuclear deal with Iran.
Access restricted for IAEA
Iran had recently threatened to restrict IAEA inspectors’ access to some of its nuclear facilities from Tuesday if the US does not relax its sanctions against Tehran. After his return to Vienna from Tehran, Grossi said that a “temporary technical agreement” had been reached during his talks. The IAEA will have “less access” to the nuclear facilities in the future. The agreement allows her to “maintain the necessary level of controls and verification work”.
Iran: “Peaceful nuclear program”
Grossi did not say which of its activities in Iran the IAEA should restrict. However, he announced that the number of IAEA inspectors in Iran would remain the same and that short-term controls would also be possible. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told the state broadcaster Press TV that the agreement would allow the IAEA to continue to verify “that the Iranian nuclear program remains peaceful”.
According to the IAEA, the organization will not receive any records from Iran for “the activities and equipment” in several plants for the time being. The IAEA was apparently referring to the recordings from surveillance cameras. If the sanctions against Iran were lifted completely within three months, Iran would return these records to the IAEA, the agency said.
Iran had promised the IAEA inspectors also short-term inspections of plants in an additional protocol to the nuclear agreement of 2015. However, a law passed by the Iranian parliament in December stipulates that this permit will be revoked if there is no easing of the US sanctions by then. The law comes into force on Tuesday.
Trump canceled the nuclear deal
The nuclear deal is designed to prevent Iran from building nuclear weapons. Former US President Donald Trump rejected the agreement negotiated under his predecessor Barack Obama as completely inadequate and terminated it in 2018. Then Trump imposed a series of sanctions against Iran, from which the country’s economy suffers massively. Tehran, for its part, has since gradually withdrawn from its obligations under the agreement.
Biden wants to get back to the deal
The new Democratic US President Joe Biden has agreed to return to the nuclear deal. However, Washington and Tehran are currently arguing over who should take the first step to revitalize the agreement. Iran is making the lifting of US sanctions a prerequisite for the country’s full compliance with the agreement. The new US administration, in turn, demands that Tehran comply with the agreement before punitive measures are lifted.
Last week, however, in a gesture of goodwill, the US government accepted an invitation from the EU to hold informal talks with all of the signatory states to the nuclear deal. In addition to the USA and Iran, the agreement was signed by Germany, France, Great Britain, China and Russia.
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