Iran to remove 27 monitoring cameras from nuclear sites
The Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said Iran has informed that it is removing 27 surveillance cameras from its nuclear facilities.
IAEA Director-General Rafael Grossi told reporters here late Thursday that the move could deal “a fatal blow” to chances of reviving the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and also “poses a serious challenge to our ability to continue working there”, reports Xinhua news agency.
Iran’s move came a day after an IAEA board meeting on Wednesday passed a resolution to censure Iran for its nuclear safeguards issues.
The resolution had been proposed by the US, UK, France and Germany following recent IAEA reports that Iran has not provided “technically credible explanations” to uranium particles at three undeclared sites. However, Iranian officials rejected the reports and insisted the country did not carry out any clandestine and unrecorded nuclear activities.
Grossi said that more than 40 surveillance cameras would remain in operation in Iran after the country’s latest move.
He warned that if an agreement cannot be reached on restoring the cameras in three to four weeks, “this would be a fatal blow” to hopes of reviving the Iran nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
Upon signing the deal, Iran agreed to put some curbs on its nuclear programme in return for the removal of the US-led sanctions. However, former US President Donald Trump pulled out of the agreement in May 2018 and reimposed unilateral sanctions on Iran, prompting Tehran to reduce some of its nuclear commitments under the JCPOA.
Since April 2021, eight rounds of talks have been held in Vienna between Iran and the remaining JCPOA parties — China, the UK, France, Russia and Germany, to revive the pact.
However, the talks have stalled since mid-March due to reported major differences between Iran and the US.
Meanwhile, a Chinese envoy said putting pressure on Iran would not help solve the Iran nuclear issue after the IAEA board meeting passed a resolution to censure Tehran.
Wang Chang, deputy head of China’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations in Vienna, said that China voted against the resolution, proposed by the United States, Britain, France and Germany to criticize Iran for its nuclear safeguards issues, at the meeting of the IAEA board of governors earlier in the day.
Wang said that China is opposed to relevant countries putting pressure on Iran with the resolution, as the pressure campaign will not help solve problems, but intensify tensions and escalate the situation.
Such a confrontational move at the IAEA board meeting will only compromise the Iran-IAEA cooperation and undermine the negotiations on reviving the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, which is in the final critical stage, he noted.
Talks in Vienna over restoring the Iran nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), have stalled in recent months.
The Chinese envoy said that China supports the IAEA and Iran in resolving their disagreements on safeguards issues through dialogue and cooperation.
“The pressing task now is to conclude the Iran nuclear talks and bring the JCPOA back on track at an early date,” Wang said. “We believe all of Iran’s safeguards issues will be solved by then.”
Wang noted that the United States, as the initiator of the current Iran nuclear crisis, should make political decisions as soon as possible and actively respond to Iran’s legitimate concerns to push for an early deal in the nuclear talks.
“All relevant parties should create necessary conditions and a sound atmosphere for diplomatic efforts,” he added.