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IAEA warns of ‘fatal blow’ to nuclear deal as Iran withdraws cameras

By on June 9, 2022 0
  • Tehran had warned of retaliation in an IAEA board resolution
  • Iran now removes IAEA cameras installed under 2015 deal
  • IAEA chief Grossi sees 3-4 week window of opportunity
  • If this window is not seized, the 2015 agreement is dead, he says

VIENNA, June 9 (Reuters) – Iran dealt a near fatal blow to the chances of reviving the 2015 Iran nuclear deal on Thursday by starting to remove almost all of the International Nuclear Agency‘s monitoring equipment. energy installed under the agreement, said IAEA chief Rafael Grossi.

Iran had warned of retaliation if the 35-nation IAEA Board of Governors passed a resolution drafted by the United States, France, Britain and Germany criticizing Tehran for its persistent inability to explain traces of uranium found at undeclared sites. The resolution was passed Wednesday evening by an overwhelming majority. Read more

Iran told the agency overnight that it plans to remove equipment, including 27 IAEA cameras from Thursday, which “essentially” represents all of the additional surveillance equipment installed as part of it. of the 2015 deal going beyond Iran’s core obligations to the agency, Grossi told a news conference.

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That leaves a three- to four-week window of opportunity to restore at least some of the oversight that’s been removed, or the IAEA will lose the ability to reconstruct Iran’s most significant nuclear activities, Grossi said.

“I think it would be a fatal blow (to the relaunch of the deal),” Grossi said of what would happen if that window was not used.

A confidential IAEA report to member states released on Thursday evening and viewed by Reuters said IAEA inspectors had removed IAEA cameras at two sites and stored them under IAEA seals.

Indirect talks between Iran and the United States on reviving the 2015 deal have stalled since March.

“Do you think we would back down from our positions if you pass a resolution in the (IAEA) Board of Governors? In the name of God and the great Iranian nation, we will not back down one step from our positions,” said the Iranian president. Ebrahim Raisi said in a speech.

Since President Donald Trump pulled Washington out of the deal and reimposed sanctions on Tehran in 2018, Iran has breached many of the deal’s limits on its nuclear activities. It enriches uranium to near weapons grade.

Western powers are warning that he is getting closer to the possibility of sprinting towards making a nuclear bomb. Iran denies wanting. Read more

France, Britain and Germany, the so-called E3, on Thursday condemned Iran’s actions and urged it to fully resume cooperation with the watchdog and end its nuclear escalation. .

“These actions only escalate the situation and complicate our efforts to restore full implementation of the JCPoA. They also cast further doubt on Iran’s commitment to a successful outcome,” the statement said. ‘E3 in a release that did not include the United States as of Wednesday.

Washington issued a separate statement earlier Thursday, stopping short of condemning Iran’s actions and urging Iran to choose diplomacy and de-escalation.

Iran has kept the data recorded by the additional monitoring equipment since February last year, which means the IAEA can only hope to access it later. Grossi said it was unclear what would happen to that data now.

He added, however, that more than 40 IAEA cameras would continue to operate as part of basic surveillance in Iran prior to the 2015 deal.

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Additional reporting by John Irish in Paris and the Dubai newsroom; Editing by Frank Jack Daniel, Andrew Heavens, Raissa Kasolowsky, Alex Richardson, Jonathan Oatis and David Gregorio

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