The IAEA warns of a “deadly blow” to the nuclear deal when Iran removes cameras

  • Tehran had warned of retaliation following the IAEA’s board decision
  • Iran is now removing IAEA cameras installed under the 2015 agreement
  • IAEA chief Grossi sees 3-4 weeks of opportunities
  • If that window is not seized, the 2015 agreement is dead, he says
  • But a senior US official says resuscitation is possible after 3-4 weeks

VIENNA, June 9 (Reuters) – On Thursday, Iran gave an almost fatal blow to the chances of reviving the nuclear deal with Iran from 2015 when it began removing substantially all of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s monitoring equipment installed under the deal, said IAEA chief Rafael Grossi.

Iran had warned of retaliation if the IAEA’s 35-nation government passed a resolution drafted by the United States, France, Britain and Germany criticizing Tehran for its continued failure to explain traces of uranium found in undisclosed locations. The decision was adopted by a crushing majority late Wednesday. read more

Iran told the agency overnight that it plans to remove equipment including 27 IAEA cameras from Thursday, which is “basically all” the additional surveillance equipment installed under the 2015 agreement that goes beyond Iran’s core commitments to the agency, Grossi said at a news conference.

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It provides a window of opportunity of three to four weeks to restore at least some of the surveillance that is scrapped, otherwise the IAEA will lose the ability to put together Iran’s main nuclear activities, Grossi said.

“I think this would be a fatal blow (to revive the deal),” Grossi said of what would happen if the window was unused.

A confidential IAEA report to member states on Thursday night, seen by Reuters, said that IAEA inspectors had removed IAEA cameras in two places and placed them under IAEA seals there.

U.S. officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that even after a three- or four-week period, Iran could still provide additional information to revive the nuclear deal.

“We are not on death row (for the next) three to four weeks,” a senior US official said, adding that the deal could be resumed, although the longer Iran withheld access, the more transparency it would have to give the IAEA.

Indirect talks between Iran and the United States to revive the 2015 agreement have been stopped since March.

“Do you think we would withdraw from our positions if you adopt a resolution in the (IAEA) board? In the name of God and the great nation of Iran, we will not withdraw a single step from our positions,” Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi said. in a speech.

Since then-President Donald Trump withdrew Washington from the agreement and reintroduced sanctions against Tehran in 2018, Iran has broken many of the agreement’s boundaries for its nuclear activities. It enriches uranium to near weapon quality.

Western powers warn that they are approaching the possibility of sprinting to make an atomic bomb. Iran refuses to do so. read more

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

“These actions only exacerbate 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,” E3 said in a statement that did not include the United States, as of Wednesday. .

Washington issued its own statement, stopping condemning Iran’s actions and urging Iran to opt for diplomacy and de-escalation.

Iran has kept the data recorded by the additional surveillance equipment since February last year, which means that the IAEA can only hope to have access to it at a later date. Grossi said it was not clear what would happen to this data now.

However, he added that more than 40 IAEA cameras will continue to operate as part of the pre-2015 nuclear deal in Iran.

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Further reporting by John Irish in Paris, Arshad Mohammed in Saint Paul, Minn., And Dubai Newsroom; Edited by Alex Richardson, Jonathan Oatis, David Gregorio and Richard Pullin

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