Iran accepts deal on nuclear monitoring, avoids censure

Iran is allowing the United Nations (U.N.) nuclear watchdog to service nuclear monitoring equipment in a deal that avoids a possible censure of Tehran and meets a basic requirement to eventually resume international talks over its nuclear program, The New York Times reported.

Following a Sunday meeting between Rafael Grossi, the head of the U.N.’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and Iran’s Mohammad Eslami, the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), the two parties said in a joint statement, “IAEA's inspectors are permitted to service the identified equipment and replace their storage media which will be kept under the joint IAEA and AEOI seals in the Islamic Republic of Iran.” 

The meeting follows two reports from the IAEA alleging that Iran has not been cooperating with the agency in monitoring its nuclear limits and has denied the watchdog quarterly access to nuclear monitoring equipment, despite agreements to do so. 

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Additionally, one of the watchdog’s reports says four Iranian nuclear locations were not declared to the IAEA. 

The United States and several European countries are scheduled to meet with the watchdog's board on Monday. The possibility of censure has been used to compel Iran to comply with its commitments to the agency. 

An Obama-era deal called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) restricted Iran’s nuclear activity in return for easing sanctions against the country. However, former President TrumpDonald TrumpRobert Gates says 'extreme polarization' is the greatest threat to US democracy Cassidy says he won't vote for Trump if he runs in 2024 Schiff says holding Bannon in criminal contempt 'a way of getting people's attention' MORE pulled out of the deal in 2018, and Iran stopped complying with its terms in 2019.  

Earlier this year, another report by the IAEA maintained that Iran had significantly enriched uranium — reaching 60 percent purity, jumping 40 percent since April and getting closer to weapons-grade levels of around 90 percent.

Iran has not returned to the negotiating table due in part to its June elections, though several countries that were part of the JCPOA — France and Germany, specifically — have urged Iran to resume talks.

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, who was sworn in last month, has said he is open to negotiations but without the “pressure” from Western countries.

"The Westerners and the Americans are after talks together with pressure. ... What kind of talks is that? I have already announced that we will have talks on our government's agenda but not with ... pressure," Raisi said on state TV, according to Reuters.