Iran to allow cameras at nuclear site, UN watchdog says
The United Nations has reached a deal with Iran to replace cameras at an Iranian facility producing advanced centrifuges and other parts that enrich uranium for potential nuclear weapon development.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will reinstall cameras at the Karaj facility by the end of the month, which will replace those Iran had taken down in June after the complex was bombed in an attack Iranian officials blamed on Israel.
Under the deal, Iran will have some control of the footage, as the United Nations will give the country a sample camera, as well as technical information, for knowledge on the review process.
IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi and the Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, Mohammad Eslami, made the agreement on Wednesday and announced it in a press release on the agency’s website.
“The agreement with Iran on replacing surveillance cameras at the Karaj facility is an important development for the IAEA’s verification and monitoring activities in Iran. It will enable us to resume necessary continuity of knowledge at this facility,” Grossi said in a statement. “I sincerely hope that we can continue our constructive discussions to also address and resolve all outstanding safeguards issues in Iran.”
Grossi also announced the deal on Twitter.
.@IAEAorg to install new surveillance cameras at Karaj centrifuge workshop in coming days under my agreement today with Atomic Energy Organization of #Iran. https://t.co/MIGeIWwGq3 pic.twitter.com/TPrhxZfgaz
— Rafael MarianoGrossi (@rafaelmgrossi) December 15, 2021
The deal mentioned nothing about reviewing footage from a camera that was allegedly destroyed in the June attack on the Karaj complex. U.S. officials have called on the IAEA to obtain the data.
The agreement to reinstall cameras could be one sign of a breakthrough in ongoing discussions between Iran and Europe in Vienna, Austria, about potentially restarting the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, a 2015 pact between the West and Iran. The pact, scrapped in 2018, limited nuclear weapon development for Iran in return for an easing of economic sanctions on the nation.
Allowing the IAEA to monitor Iran is a major part of Western conditions for restarting the pact.
Talks have dragged on for weeks, and it’s unclear exactly what deal, if any, will be reached. The U.S. is involved with the negotiations indirectly.
Meanwhile, Iran has restarted production of advanced centrifuges, which can enrich uranium. The nation has amassed a stockpile of uranium enriched to at least 60 percent, which is close to the 90 percent purity needed for nuclear weapons development.
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