New agreement with IAEA intended to prevent ill-wishers to invent new excuses: Iran

December 17, 2021 - 21:44

TEHRAN - The Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) is making efforts to deprive the “ill-wishers of the (Iranian) nation and the Zionists” of inventing pretexts for the continuation of sanctions against Iran through lies, AEOI chief Mohammad Eslami announced on Thursday.

The remarks by Eslami came after Iran took a voluntary measure to increase cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), including allowing the UN body to install cameras at the centrifuge producing facility near Karaj and resolving the remaining issues.

Such steps will disarm the ill-wishers from waging a “psychological war and spreading lies” to derail the ongoing talks in Vienna, which are aimed at lifting the United States’ anti-Iran sanctions, the nuclear chief added.

“We will continue our effective efforts to ensure that no one concocts excuses or justifications for the continuation of sanctions,” Press TV quoted Eslami as telling reporters.

He added, “Sanctions should be lifted and we will do our commitments based on the framework.” 

Eslami’s remarks followed immediately after AEOI spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi said Iran would take a voluntary measure to allow the IAEA to replace cameras at the Karaj complex, which were damaged in an act of sabotage widely attributed to Israel in June.

“Following exchanges of views between the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency, particularly based on recent talks between the heads of the agencies Mohammad Eslami and Rafael Grossi, it was decided that the Agency shall have the necessary cooperation [with Iran] in precise technical, security and judicial inspections of the Agency’s cameras at the TESA complex in Karaj. This measure is meant to soothe concerns that saboteurs may take advantage of the cameras,” Kamalvandi said.

He stated that the IAEA technicians would also answer Iran’s technical questions regarding the cameras, adding that the IAEA cameras would be re-installed after careful and necessary checks.

Eslami similarly said the cameras can be re-installed at the Karaj centrifuge producing facility only after thorough security and judicial inspections and the discerning of the factors that played a role in that “terrorist incident”.

In a statement on Thursday, IAEA director general Grossi said the agreement “will enable us to resume necessary continuity of knowledge at this facility,” noting that the new cameras would be installed “in coming days.”

Grossi described the agreement as an important development for the verification and monitoring activities in Iran by the IAEA. 

Grossi held a presser on Friday to address reporters regarding the agreement between Iran and the IAEA. When asked about who can see the footage, Grossi said the IAEA, as a gesture, had suggested in February that the footage would stay in Iran, under the IAEA’s seal.

“So, it’s mine, if I can put it like that, but I can’t see it, and at some point, ideally, when the JCPOA agreement is restored, then.” 

He then opened the sample surveillance camera, indicating that the IAEA has access to the footage only if the JCPOA is revived. 

On a question by Sky News Arabia that the Americans are not happy about the agreement and whether Iran will give the footage to the IAEA before lifting the sanctions, Grossi said, “The information will be shared with us the moment there is an agreement, and one of the ideas is that the agreement is achieved once the sanctions are lifted. So I suppose it is different way to express the same idea, which is once there is an agreement, let’s not forget one thing. This [pointing to the sample surveillance camera] is an agreement between the IAEA and Iran… The precondition or the assumption upon which this agreement was signed was that it’d happen when there is an agreement, and I suppose the agreement would come once the sanctions are lifted, but that’s for other people to decide.”

He also said that nobody from Washington has told him that they are dissatisfied with the agreement he has reached with Iran.

“I sincerely hope that we can continue our constructive discussions to also address and resolve all outstanding safeguards issues in Iran,” he added.

A U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Washington did not see a need for a special meeting of the IAEA Board of Governors if the agreement went into force.

Russia also welcomed the agreement and expressed support for the mutual commitment of the IAEA and Iran to continue cooperation within the framework of a comprehensive safeguards agreement and in accordance with the requirements of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), commonly known as the Iran nuclear deal.

According to Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova, good news is now needed to stimulate the talks in the Austrian capital Vienna on the restoration of the JCPOA.

Moscow expects that by joint efforts “it will also be possible to overcome the tension around the Iranian nuclear program, which is fully compatible with the interests of non-proliferation and strengthening security at the regional and global levels,” Zakharova added.

Reacting to the recent agreement between Iran and the IAEA, the deputy spokesman for the un secretary-general stated that the United Nations welcomes any attempt by Iran to engage constructively with the IAEA.

“We are in contact with our colleagues at the International Atomic Energy Agency, and they are examining this response, and in the first place we are waiting to see what their reaction is. But in our view, we certainly welcome any attempt by Iran to engage constructively with the International Atomic Energy Agency,” Farhan Hagh said.

Hagh added, “We urge Iran to adhere to all aspects of the core of the Comprehensive Joint Action Plan (JCPOA), and we certainly urge them to cooperate fully with the International Atomic Energy Agency.”

The JCPOA was abandoned by former U.S. president Donald Trump in May 2018. Trump then targeted Iran’s economy with what he called a “maximum pressure” campaign, which failed to compel Iran to negotiate a “new deal”.

Iran and the five remaining parties to the JCPOA – Germany, Britain, France, Russia, and China – began the talks in the Austrian capital in April with the aim of lifting the sanctions and reviving the deal after the U.S., under President Joe Biden, voiced willingness to return to the agreement.

American officials have said they will not lift all the sanctions that they imposed on Iran after their withdrawal. They have also declined to provide guarantees that the U.S. will not leave the JCPOA again, once it is accepted back into the deal.

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