| 23 February 2024, Friday |

Iran, IAEA agree to nuclear inspection deal with less access

The head of the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog said it reached an agreement with Iran to continue its “necessary” verification and monitoring activities for up to three months, but there will be less access and no more snap inspections starting on Tuesday.

Speaking to reporters in Vienna on Sunday following his return from Tehran, the International Atomic Energy Agency chief Rafael Grossi said his talks with Iranian officials had produced a “good, reasonable result” that “salvages the situation for now”.

“We reached a temporary bilateral technical understanding whereby the agency is going to continue its necessary verification and monitoring activities for a period of up to three months”, Grossi said.

“We agreed that we are going to keep this understanding we reached under review constantly – so if we want to suspend it or extend it, this can be done”, he added.

“The hope of the IAEA has been to be able to stabilize a situation which was very unstable and I think this technical understanding does it, so that other political consultations at other levels can take place.”

But in a statement, Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization said the Additional Protocol and IAEA access as part of the 2015 nuclear deal will be completely suspended from Tuesday.

No access will be given to the nuclear watchdog beyond safeguards of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, the organization stressed.

It said, however, that Iran has agreed to keep recording information on its inspection equipment for three months without granting IAEA access.

“If the sanctions are completely lifted within three months, Iran will give this information to the agency. If not, the information will be deleted forever,” the statement said.

Parliament speaker Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf, who spearheaded the law that limits inspections from Tuesday, also emphasized in a tweet on Monday that any access beyond non-proliferation safeguards would be “strictly forbidden and illegal”.

He also pointed out an article of the legislation he passed has foreseen judicial punishments for potential violators.

The announcement would potentially “give a greater amount of time for a diplomatic process to get under way” between the US and Iran.

  • Aljazeera