Breaking: Iran nuclear inspections should not be used as bargaining chip in talks: IAEA
The Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) says he has asked all parties to the landmark nuclear deal with Iran not to use the agency’s inspections as a bargaining chip during any future talks, but use them as a basis to achieve an agreement.
According to reports, Rafael Grossi made the remarks in an interview with Spanish-language newspaper El Páis through videoconferencing from his office in Vienna on Monday.
He made the comments in reference to a recent deal between Iran and the IAEA, according to which the agency will reduce its inspections of Iran’s nuclear facilities for a period of three months during which its cameras will continue to monitor Iran’s nuclear activities. If after three months, the two sides reach an agreement on further cooperation, the data recorded by those cameras will be handed over to the IAEA; otherwise, Iran will further restrict inspections and delete the data.
Iran decided to reduce its cooperation with the agency after the United States unilaterally withdrew from the JCPOA and reimposed “toughest sanctions” on the Islamic Republic and also in the face of inaction of the European signatories to the deal to take steps to make up for the US withdrawal from the accord and lessen its economic impact on Iran.
“What we did was a patchwork to try to keep the bare minimum and that’s where diplomacy plays. You have to go, understand them, and know that there is a law that they have approved and that they cannot afford not to comply with,” Grossi said in another part of his interview.
The IAEA chief added that the main goal of his recent visit to Iran was “to find a way to bypass, without deceiving anyone, bypass the provisions of the law and, without having them violate that law, allow us in a technical way to keep our monitoring work. Our cameras will continue to record … [and] … the online systems will continue to receive the information, but it remains stored in Iran.”
Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei said on Sunday that the United States must first lift all sanctions it has imposed on Tehran after unilaterally withdrawing from the JCPOA before the Islamic Republic would return to full compliance with its commitments under the deal.
“Americans must lift all sanctions first and then we will verify and if they are truly lifted, then we will return to our [JCPOA] commitments without any problem. We cannot trust the Americans’ promise,” the Leader said in his New Year speech.
Earlier this month, the UN nuclear agency chief said a US return to the 2015 nuclear agreement is “difficult” but still “possible,” calling on Iran’s partners in the deal to seize the three-month chance offered by Tehran as part of a bilateral understanding with the watchdog to revive the nuclear deal.
“They (the US) want to come back. But of course … there are a number of issues that still need to be clarified. So it’s not impossible. It is difficult, but not impossible,” Grossi said.