IAEA access to cameras conditioned to U.S. return to JCPOA obligations: MP

September 29, 2021 - 20:46

TEHRAN – A legislator on Wednesday criticized the International Atomic Energy Agency for reneging its commitments toward Iran, saying as it had been agreed the IAEA can get access to its surveillance cameras at Iran’s nuclear sites only if the United States rejoins the 2015 nuclear deal and fulfill its obligation.

“But if the United States doesn’t return to the JCPOA, Iran will not give the memory cards to the Agency,” Hadi Beiginejad told the Fars news agency, using the acronym for the nuclear deal.

Under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, Iran promised to put limits on its nuclear activities in exchange for termination of its economic and financial sanctions. 
United Nations Security Council also adopted a resolution in July 2015 confirming the JCPOA.

Beiginejad, who sits on the Parliament Energy Committee, said the IAEA has accepted this condition with Iran but unfortunately the world’s public opinion has been manipulated in a way that Iran is the main culprit.

“This is while the United States has jettisoned the JCPOA and Europe has not fulfilled its obligations,” the MP insisted. 

He added that the Western sides as the accused must not replace Iran as a plaintiff.

The Islamic Republic’s demand is that the United States and Europe act based on their obligations under the JCPOA and that Iran will not tolerate any excuse, the MP pointed out.

Beiginejad suggested that Iran should take immediate steps to prove to the world that it is the Western side that is “violator” and is not honoring its commitments. 

In February, the IAEA and the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) reached a temporary bilateral technical understanding, under which Iran allowed cameras to record information at its nuclear sites for three months, but it retained the information exclusively. If the U.S. sanctions are lifted completely within that period, Iran will provide the footage information to the UN nuclear watchdog, otherwise it will be deleted forever.

Also in late February, former AEOI chief Ali Akbar Salehi said recordings from monitoring equipment that the IAEA has installed at Iran’s nuclear sites will be deleted if the United States does not lift its unilateral sanctions within the next three months.

“Now, the IAEA does not have the right to access surveillance cameras for up to 3 months, and if the sanctions are not lifted, the information recorded by the cameras will be deleted and cameras will be uninstalled. The agency issues a report every three months, so we gave it a chance,” Salehi explained.

Salehi made such warning four days after Iran stopped the voluntary implementation of the Additional Protocol to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Safeguards Treaty, which stipulates enhanced international access to nuclear sites and snap inspections by the IAEA.

The halt came under the Strategic Action Plan to Counter Sanctions, a law passed in December 2020 by the Iranian Parliament.

Though as a goodwill gesture Iran extended the three-month period to give a chance to the Vienna nuclear talks to revive the JCPOA, the U.S. raised new conditions unrelated to the JCPOA which complicated the negotiation process.

To resume the nuclear talks under the new administration in Iran, IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi visited Iran on September 12 during which Iran and the IAEA issued a joint statement for cooperation.

According to the joint statement Iran had refused to allow the IAEA to service cameras at sites which have suffered damages due to sabotage acts blamed on Israel. However, Grossi has launched a campaign which goes against that joint statement.

In an interview with the BBC on Wednesday, Grossi said, “The IAEA is asking Iran to respect what I agreed with them past Sunday, September 12, where we agreed that we would be able to service all our equipment –you were referring to some cameras there, that is a part of it. It’s much more than that- so that we can carry on with this work (inspection).”

Prior to such a statement, in a report on Sunday Grossi said Iran had not allowed IAEA inspectors to get access to the TESA Complex in Karja, a city near Tehran.

In response, the Iranian ambassador to the IAEA, Kazem Gharibabadi, said on Monday the TESA Complex which has been targeted in “terrorist sabotage operations” is under “security and judicial investigations” and therefore “equipment related to this complex are not included for servicing.”

Gharibabadi added, “That's why the phrase ‘identified equipment’ has been used in the joint statement.” 

Also on Monday afternoon, Gharibabadi reacted to the remarks by the representatives of the U.S., E3 at the IAEA regarding the TESA Complex, saying they cannot “remain silent” in the face the Israeli regime’s “terrorist operations” against the Iranian sites and fail to prevent it and then seek a continued surveillance of these sites.

E3 refers to the three European countries of Britain, France and Germany which are signatory to the JCPOA.

“When the Agency’s surveillance equipment run out of service by the Zionist regime, they should not expect Iran to install them again without any cost for this regime and without any measure by the Agency and claimant countries,” Gharibabadi asserted.

Gharibabadi added that the new agreement between Iran and the IAEA was “fully implemented during the specified time”.

In a series of tweets earlier on Monday, Ambassador Gharibabadi said, "It is deeply unfortunate that after three terrorist sabotage operations at the facility over the past year, the IAEA has not yet condemned these heinous acts, contrary to numerous resolutions of the IAEA General Conference and the UN General Assembly, and even because of its equipment and assets and the safety and security of its inspectors."

He added, "The joint statement of the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran and the director-general of the IAEA on September 12 was also obtained in good faith of Iran and with the aim of replacing the ‘specified equipment’ memory cards. The Agency also took action to implement this goal from September 20 to 22."

The ambassador went on to say, “Therefore, the director general’s report on Sep 26 isn't accurate and goes beyond the agreed terms of the joint statement. Any decision taken by Iran on monitoring equipment is only based on political rather than legal considerations and the Agency cannot and should not consider it as one of its entitlements.”

Mohammad Eslami, Iran’s nuclear chief wo had visited Russia on Tuesday, also said Iran will not accept the reinstallation of cameras in damaged sites. 

“The Agency’s insistence on installing cameras in those places damaged by the terrorist operation is in line with the same operation against Iran,” the nuclear chief said. “This is by no means acceptable,” Eslami added. 

Writing on his Twitter account on Monday, Russian ambassador to the IAEA Mikhail Ulyanov said, “At today’s #IAEA BoG I stressed that the denial of access to facility in Karaj isn’t a violation of safeguards, just partial implementation of voluntary transparency measures by #Iran. However it’s important to find a positive solution in the interests of Iran and #JCPOA.”

Iran has blamed Israel for the attacks targeting the TESA complex as well as for another attack at Iran’s Natanz nuclear facility in April.


 

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