UN watchdog warns of damaged ability to monitor Iran’s nuclear activity

Fragile measures to monitor Iran’s nuclear activity that were established by the U.N.’s atomic energy watchdog are becoming undone, its director-general has warned.

“Stop-gap” measures agreed to in February to prevent the total disintegration of a monitoring deal between Tehran and the International Atomic Energy Agency are no longer “intact,” IAEA chief Rafael Grossi said in an interview with the Financial Times published Tuesday. Specifically, Iran is no longer allowing surveillance cameras to record at its Tesa Karaj facility west of Tehran, which manufactures centrifuge parts.

Grossi said he urgently needed to speak to Iran’s new foreign minister to revive this aspect of the agreement — an agreement which is seen as vital to propping up the beleaguered 2015 Iranian nuclear deal and enabling continued negotiations between Tehran and the West.

“I haven’t been able to talk to [Iran’s] foreign minister,” Grossi told the Financial Times. “I need to have this contact at the political level. This is indispensable. Without it, we cannot understand each other.”

Indirect talks between the Biden administration and Iran and mediated by foreign intermediaries have stalled since the June election of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, who is vocally anti-Western and has called U.S. sanctions “crimes against humanity.”

Spearheaded by the Obama administration and known formally as the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action), the nuclear deal signed between Iran, the U.S., China, Russia and several European powers in 2015 lifted sanctions on Iran in exchange for curbs to its nuclear program. It has steadily disintegrated since former President Donald Trump abandoned the deal in 2018, reimposing heavy sanctions that crippled Iran’s economy and subsequently led Iran to make gradual violations of the deal like enriching more uranium and at a higher level than allowed under the agreement.

Source: CNBC

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