Nuclear Settlement with Iran Keeps the Possibility of Talks Alive.

September 13, 2021

Iran and the United Nations Atomic Energy Agency announced on Sunday that the IAEA would continue to monitor Tehran’s nuclear activities, easing a stumbling block in talks to resurrect a 2015 agreement to curb its program. With negotiations between Iran and world powers deadlocked in Vienna, the steps worked out with International Atomic Energy Agency chief Rafael Grossi during a visit to Tehran provide a glimmer of hope for US President Joe Biden’s ambition to restore the JCPOA.

Since Donald Trump’s departure in 2018, Iran has also backtracked on many of its commitments. In a joint statement issued on Sunday, Grossi and Mohammad Eslami, head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization (AEOI) and one of the country’s vice presidents, praised a “spirit of cooperation and mutual trust,” while noting that surveillance was an issue to be addressed “exclusively in a technical manner.”

According to Iran’s official news agency, IRNA, Eslami welcomed “good and constructive negotiations with Mr Grossi” while emphasizing the “technical” nature of the agreement. Their agreement is about to confines Iran ability and has placed on the IAEA’s to monitor several of its nuclear facilities. Iran has refused to provide real-time footage from cameras and other surveillance tools installed in these locations by the UN agency.

The monitoring equipment remains in the agency’s custody under a compromise agreement, but the data is in Iran’s possession and must not be erased as long as the agreement is in effect. Initially agreed upon for three months, the compromise was enlarged for another month before expiring on June 24. With no word on next steps, the IAEA said in a statement last Tuesday that Tehran’s actions had “seriously undermined” its “verification and monitoring activities”.

However, under the agreement reached on Sunday, “IAEA inspectors are permitted to service the identified equipment and replace their storage media, which will be kept in the Islamic Republic of Iran under the joint IAEA and (Iran’s) AEOI seals,” according to the joint statement. “The two parties have agreed on the manner and timing.” When President Ebrahim Raisi’s new government took office in Tehran, the surveillance issue strained relations.

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