No decision yet on extending monitoring agreement with IAEA: Iran

June 28, 2021 - 11:36

TEHRAN – The Iranian Foreign Ministry announced on Monday that still no decision has been taken to extend or not to extend a monitoring deal with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

“Still no decision has been taken about agreement or no agreement, or how to continue or not to continue cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh told a regular news briefing.

In February the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) and the IAEA agreed on a three-month monitoring deal to give time to the nuclear to possibly revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, officially called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.  However, after the three-month period, which ended in May, the negotiators failed to reach an agreement. To give more time to the negotiators, the temporary monitoring deal was extended for another month. The deadline came to an end on June 24.

The February agreement was made during a visit by IAEA Director-General Rafael Grossi to Tehran. According to a joint statement issued by the IAEA and the AEOI at the time, it was agreed that “Iran continues to implement fully and without limitation its Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement with the IAEA as before.”

The decision to limit the IAEA monitoring of Iran’s nuclear activities followed a ratification by the Iranian parliament late last year in retaliation to the abrogation of the JCPOA by the United States and imposition of illegal sanctions and a failure by the European parties to the JCPOA to honor their commitments.

Iran advises Grossi to avoid politicizing the Iranian nuclear program

Iranian Ambassador to the IAEA Kazem Gharibabadi has responded to Grossi’s assessment about the quality of cooperation between Iran and the UN body, advising him to avoid politicizing the Iranian nuclear program.

Gharibabadi said Grossi’s assessment that a lack of progress in cooperation between Iran and the IAEA seriously affects the Agency’s ability to make sure that Iran’s nuclear program is exclusively peaceful was not credible. 

In his opening statement to the quarterly session of the IAEA Board of Governors in early June, Grossi claimed that technical discussions between the IAEA and Iran have not yielded the expected results, and the lack of progress in clarifying the Agency’s questions concerning the correctness and completeness of Iran’s safeguards declarations seriously affects the ability of the IAEA to provide assurance of the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program.

The Iranian diplomat called on the IAEA to avoid politicization of Iran’s nuclear program. 

“The Agency has to distance itself from any political agenda,” Gharibabadi remarked.

Diplomatic tensions have escalated between Iran and the IAEA in recent weeks as the Agency refused the level of cooperation Iran provided. 

Recently Iran sent a letter to the IAEA announcing the expiration of a February deal between the IAEA and Iran. Gharibabadi, who delivered the letter to the IAEA, had provided details about the February deal, which contained details about Iran’s decision to announce the expiration of the deal.

“We delivered this letter to the Director-General of the Agency…, which addresses two issues. One [aspect of the letter] is about a joint agreement we had with the Agency to record data from some of the Agency's surveillance cameras for three months without providing the data to the Agency, and if we reach an agreement on nuclear issues and the outcome as well as the lifting of sanctions after three months, then we will provide information to the Agency,” Gharibabadi told the Iranian TV.

According to Gharibabadi, safeguards issues constitute another aspect of the letter. “The letter explicitly states that Iran has all kinds of interactions and cooperation with the Agency and that we are still ready to work with the Agency to resolve a number of safeguards issues, but the Agency must work with a neutral and non-political approach to conclude these issues as soon as possible,” he explained.

Underlining that the AEOI-IAEA deal expired on May 24, the Iranian diplomat said, “There were contacts and requests from the Agency and the countries that are negotiating with us in the framework of the JCPOA talks to extend this understanding for another period. This issue was examined internally and the conclusion was that this understanding could not be legally extended, but the Islamic Republic of Iran decided to continue recording data for another month in its own good faith and as an independent decision and not a legal decision.”

He added, “What happens next month and what we do with this data is an independent sovereign decision that takes into account a number of factors, including the Agency's approach and technical approaches, especially in negotiations with us on safeguards as well as political negotiations in the field of the JCPOA.”

According to the parliamentary ratification if the nuclear deal is restored and sanctions are completely lifted, Iran will return to the original terms of the multilateral agreement.

Negotiators from Iran and the remaining parties to the JCPOA (Germany, France, Britain, Russia and China) resumed nuclear deal talks in April. The U.S. is also participating in the talks indirectly. The sides have so far held six rounds of talks and made considerable progresses. However, the remaining issues left unsolved is dependent on political decisions in the capitals.

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