Iran’s nukesIAEA Chief: Iran to Give “Less Access” to UN Nuclear Inspectors

Published 22 February 2021

The head of the UN’s nuclear watchdog agency said after talks in Iran on February 21 over Tehran’s threat to curb international inspections that the two sides reached an agreement but that Iran will suspend a key document on cooperation and offer “less access” to inspectors.

The head of the UN’s nuclear watchdog agency said after talks in Iran on February 21 over Tehran’s threat to curb international inspections that the two sides reached an agreement but that Iran will suspend a key document on cooperation and offer “less access” to inspectors.

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director-General Rafael Grossi was speaking after meetings with senior Iranian officials to seek a compromise two days before Iran’s deadline for the reductions if U.S. sanctions are not lifted.

In an assessment that will surely be challenged by Iran hawks in the West, Grossi said he got “a good, reasonable result” from his talks.

Grossi said Tehran will apply a law passed two months ago by the hardline parliament suspending the so-called Additional Protocol of nuclear safeguards that allows IAEA inspectors to visit undeclared sites in Iran at short notice.

But he added that he had agreed with Iranian officials that the IAEA would continue necessary verification and monitoring activities for up to three months.

What we agreed is something that is viable, [is] useful to bridge this gap that we are having, [that] salvages the situation now,” Grossi said after his return from Iran.

There is less access, let’s face it. But still we were able to retain the necessary degree of monitoring and verification work,” he said, calling it “a temporary technical understanding.”

As Grossi was on his mission to Tehran, senior Iranian and U.S. officials each left open the possibility of fresh negotiations over a return by both sides to a landmark 2015 nuclear deal that traded sanctions relief for nuclear curbs.

>But they also heaped pressure on the other to move first in the ongoing diplomatic standoff over Iran’s ongoing pursuit of nuclear technology.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif was quoted by Iranian Press TV as saying on February 21 that Tehran was open to such talks once all signatories were fulfilling all their obligations.

Meanwhile, U.S. President Joe Biden’s national-security adviser told a weekend news program on February 21 that “Iran has not yet responded” to the new U.S. administration’s call for a return to the negotiating table.

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