Iran’s atomic energy spokesman said Thursday that Tehran and the IAEA had agreed to relocate cameras to the Karaj plant after review by Iranian experts.

Behrouz Kamalvandi, Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), said staff at the International Atomic Energy Agency “will answer technical questions from our safety and security experts… [and that] after careful and necessary checks, the agency’s cameras will be reinstalled.

An IAEA statement on Wednesday said the surveillance cameras removed from the facility would be reinstalled in the coming days.

The Karaj plant, which makes components for Iran’s nuclear program, was hit in June by a drone strike, largely attributed to Israel. Months later, Tehran said it suspected security breaches and refused to allow replacement of surveillance cameras damaged in the attack, complicating talks between Tehran and the IAEA over a deal. temporary access already difficult concluded in February.

Kamalvandi noted that, under usual protocols, Iran would not open the cameras without the consent of the IAEA. He said the images would be sealed jointly by Iran and the IAEA.

Under a law passed in Iran in December 2020, Iranian authorities will not allow the agency access to the footage until Tehran resumes application of its additional protocol, which allowed the IAEA easier access to Iranian nuclear sites.

Such access was required as part of the 2015 nuclear deal, which talks in Vienna between Iran and world powers seek to revive after the United States in 2018 left the agreement, the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action), and imposed “maximum pressure” sanctions. .

“Prevent excuses”

Mohamad Eslami, head of AEOI, said on Thursday that Iran had agreed to allow access to Karaj to “prevent giving excuses to enemies who try to prevent the Iranian negotiating team from reaching its position. goal to lift [US] sanctions. “While the IAEA is not directly part of the Vienna nuclear talks, the United States has threatened to bring a motion of censure to Iran on the IAEA board, complicating matters in Vienna.

Opponents of the JCPOA in Iran have criticized the IAEA’s Karaj deal as an unnecessary concession. In one commentary titled “Questionable Agreement with IAEA Before the progress of the Vienna talks, ”the hard-line Kayhan newspaper called it a“ gift to the trio of pressure and sabotage, ”referring to JCPOA signatories from Western Europe, France, Germany and the United States. UK.

“The recent pressures are a sort of division of labor between Iran’s adversaries,” Kayhan observed. “The United States uses diplomatic pressure in talks through the European troika, the dirty work of sabotage and terror falls on Israel, and the IAEA carries out propaganda and pressure on Iran under cover.” of techniques [issues.”

The aim of the US and the three European powers, the paper argued, was to “re-impose JCPOA’s restrictions [on Iran’s nuclear program] without real and effective lifting of sanctions.

Kayhan, which is the flagship ultra-conservative newspaper, is funded by the office of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.


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