March 2, 2021

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IAEA, Iran agree temporary deal for inspections with less access

Nuclear watchdog says Iran will begin offering its inspectors ‘less access’ but still allow agency to monitor atomic programme for up to three months.

The head of the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog has said the agency 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.

Speaking to reporters in Vienna on Sunday following 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 we want to extend it, this can be done,” he added.

“The hope of the IAEA has been to be able to stabilise 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.”

Grossi’s visit came before a February 23 deadline set by Iran’s parliament for new United States President Joe Biden to lift crippling sanctions imposed by his predecessor, or Tehran would halt snap IAEA inspections.

The IAEA chief was careful to say that there still would be the same number of inspectors, but there would be “things we lose”.

He did not offer many specifics, but Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif earlier said that would include blocking the International Atomic Energy Agency from accessing footage on its cameras at nuclear sites.

Original News : https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/2/21/iaea-iran-agree-temporary-deal-inspections-access

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