New memory cards, but no access to footage: Iran's deal with UN atomic agency
Iran and the UN atomic agency on Sunday reached an agreement to avert the crisis surrounding the nuclear deal. Tehran has agreed to allow the inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to install new memory cards into surveillance cameras at its sensitive nuclear sites and continue the recording. The announcement comes after a meeting between IAEA director-general Rafael Grossi and the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) in Tehran.
“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 way and the timing are agreed by the two sides,” Grossi and Eslami said in a joint statement.
In 2015, the US, Russia, China, Germany, Britain and France entered a deal with Iran, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA). But the Donald Trump administration withdrew from the deal in 2018 and imposed unilateral sanctions on Iran as a part of its “maximum pressure” campaign.
The negotiations over the US and Iran returning to the nuclear deal continue to be stalled in Vienna. Meanwhile, the Islamic Republic is enriching small amounts of uranium as the country’s stockpile grows.
While Iran has agreed to allow filming the sensitive nuclear sites, it continues to hold all recordings at its sites. In a confidential quarterly report, the UN atomic agency had sounded the alarm bell over Iran's repeated refusal to let inspectors access the monitoring equipment.
Eslami said that the memory cards are sealed and kept in Iran “according to the routine.” “New memory cards will be installed in cameras. That is a routine and natural trend in the agency’s monitoring system,” he added.
Terming the agreement a “very constructive result”, Grossi said that it has to do with the continuity of the operation of the IAEA’s equipment in Iran. It "is indispensable for us to provide the necessary guarantee and information to the IAEA and to the world that everything is in order.”
(With inputs from agencies)