Iran, UN nuclear watchdog agree to extension of surveillance cameras
Iran reached an agreement with the United Nation’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to extend for one month the use of surveillance cameras at Tehran’s atomic sites.
Monday’s announcement comes just a day after a high-ranking Iranian politician indicated the use of cameras would not continue.
IAEA Director-General Rafael Mariano Grossi told reporters that the decision came after last-minute discussions with Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of Iran’s civilian nuclear program, The Associated Press reported.
“I’d want to stress this is not ideal,” Grossi said. “This is like an emergency device that we came up with in order for us to continue having these monitoring activities.”
Iran’s representative to the IAEA, Kazem Gharibabadi, acknowledged the agreement on Twitter.
“We recommend the negotiating countries to seize the extra opportunity provided by Iran in good faith for the complete lifting of sanctions in a practical and verifiable manner,” he tweeted.
The extended agreement, dubbed an “additional protocol,” allows the IAEA to collect and analyze images from surveillance cameras at Iranian nuclear sites to make sure the country is abiding by the 2015 nuclear deal.
Iran’s Parliament Speaker Mohammad Bagher Qalibaf had said Sunday that the agreement with the IAEA would be ending, sparking concerns over ongoing nuclear talks in Vienna. Iranian media had reported at the time that the agreement could possibly be extended “conditionally” for another month.
When asked what would happen after the 30 days are up, Grossi said the IAEA would deal with the situation then.
Grossi also acknowledged the upcoming Iranian presidential elections, which could lead to new representatives at the nuclear talks. The AP noted that analysts believe the moderate Iranian President Hassan Rouhani could be replaced with a more hard-line leader.
“We deal with Iran and the Iranian people will give itself its new government in the next elections,” Grossi said. “So I’m not worried and I’m confident that whoever comes next will, of course, continue cooperating with the IAEA. I think it’s in everybody’s interests.”