UN chief visits Iran as it threatens to cut off watchdog cameras

Tehran, Iran – The head of the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog met with Iranian officials on Sunday to preserve the ability of its inspectors to monitor Tehran’s nuclear program, even as officials said they had visited those sites. But surveillance cameras are planned to be cut.

As Rafael Grossi’s arrival in Tehran, Iran tried to pressure Europe and the new Biden administration to withdraw the 2015 nuclear deal, which President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from the US in 2018.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Jawad Zarif, who helped reach a nuclear deal under President Hassan Rouhani, said the International Atomic Energy Agency’s cameras would be discontinued despite Grossi’s visit to comply with a law passed by Parliament.

“This is not a time limit for the world. This is not an ultimatum, ”Zarif told the government-run, English-language broadcaster Press TV in an interview before meeting Grossi. “This is an internal domestic issue between Parliament and the government.”

“We have democracy. We are going to enforce the laws of the country. And Parliament adopted the law – whether we like it or not. “

Zarif’s comments marked the highest level of acceptability of Iran’s planning to prevent it from following the so-called “additional protocol” that was reached as part of a confidential nuclear deal between Tehran and the IAEA. The IAEA has additional protocols with many countries that monitor it.

Under the protocol with Iran, the IAEA “analyzes and analyzes thousands of images captured daily by its sophisticated surveillance cameras,” the agency said in 2017. The agency then also stated that it had kept “more than 2,000 tampering evidence on nuclear material and equipment.”

In his interview, Zarif said officers would be “required by law to not provide tapes of those cameras.” It was not immediately clear if this also meant that the cameras would be completely switched off as Zarif stated that “a technical decision, this is not a political decision.”

“The IAEA certainly won’t get footage from those cameras,” Zarif said.

The Vienna-based IAEA did not respond to a request for comment on Zarif’s comments, although Grossi was expected to address reporters when he returned to Vienna late Sunday night. The agency said last week that the visit was “aimed at finding a mutually agreed solution for the IAEA to continue the necessary verification in the country.”

Iran has 18 nuclear facilities and nine other locations under IAEA safeguards.

From Washington, US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said President Joe Biden remained prepared to negotiate with Iran to return to the nuclear deal, a proposal previously rejected by Zarif.

Sullivan told CBS’s “Face the Nation”, “We are ready to talk to the Iranians about how we place drastic constraints on their nuclear program.” “This proposal still stands, because we believe that diplomacy is the best way to do it.”

On the American citizens being held by Iran, Sullivan said: “We have started communicating with the Iranians on this issue.”

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzade told Sullivan’s reply to State TV late Sunday that “there is no direct dialogue between Iran and the United States.” However, Khatibzadeh said the Swiss embassy in Tehran, which has been looking at American interests for decades since the 1979 hostage crisis, has sent messages between countries on inmate issues since Biden took over Have given.

Grossi met on Sunday with Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of Iran’s civil nuclear program. Iran’s ambassador to the IAEA, Kazam Garibabadi, later tweeted that “Iran and the IAEA held fruitful discussions on the basis of mutual respect, the result of which will be released this evening.”

Iran’s parliament in December approved a bill that would be part of the UN’s inspection of its nuclear facilities if European signatories do not relieve oil and banking restrictions by Tuesday.

Ali-Akbar Salehi
Ali-Akbar Salehi

already, Iran has gradually moved away from all limits of the nuclear deal on uranium reserves and has grown up to 20%, A technical step away from weapon-grade levels. It has started spinning advanced centrifuges barred from the deal, which saw Iran limit its program in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions.

A growing series of events have threatened widespread midrest since Trump’s return. A year earlier, an American drone attack killed a top Iranian general, prompting Tehran to later launch ballistic missiles injuring dozens of American soldiers in Iraq.

A mysterious explosion also affected Iran’s Natzan nuclear facility, which Iran has described as a vandalism. In November, Iranian scientist Mohsin Fakhrizade, who founded the country’s military nuclear program two decades ago, Was killed Tehran accuses Israel in an attack.

Zarif, in his interview with State TV, called the attacks, saying the IAEA should keep some of its information confidential for security reasons.

“Some of them may have security flaws for Iran, whose peaceful nuclear bases have been attacked,” said Zarif. “For a country whose nuclear scientists have been murdered in terrorist acts in the past – and now more recently with Mr. Fakhrizade – secrecy is necessary.”

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