Iran pledges more access for nuclear inspectors, head of UN watchdog says – POLITICO

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Iran pledged to re-install monitoring equipment at its nuclear facilities and to assist an investigation into uranium traces detected at undeclared sites, the head of the U.N.’s nuclear agency said Saturday after a visit to Tehran.

Rafael Mariano Grossi, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, met with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and other top officials in Tehran on Saturday.

“Over the past few months, there was a reduction in some of the monitoring activities” related to cameras and other equipment “which were not operating,” Grossi told reporters upon his return to Vienna. “We have agreed that those will be operating again.”

A joint statement issued on Saturday by the IAEA and Iran’s nuclear agency included assurances that Tehran would address long-standing complaints about access to its disputed nuclear program. But the text went into little detail, and similar promises by Iran have yielded little in the past.

“Iran expressed its readiness to continue its cooperation and provide further information and access to address the outstanding safeguards issues,” according to the joint statement.

“These are not words. This is very concrete,” Grossi said of the assurances he received in Tehran, the Associated Press reported.

The visit to Iran followed a recent report from the IAEA, seen by CNN and other media, that confirmed that uranium particles enriched to 83.7 percent purity, close to the 90 percent needed to make a nuclear bomb, were found at an Iranian nuclear site. The report raised concerns that Tehran was speeding up its enrichment.

Grossi said the Iranians had agreed to increase inspections at that site by 50 percent, the AP reported.  

Iran also will allow the re-installation of extra monitoring equipment that had been put in place under the 2015 nuclear deal, but then removed last year as the agreement fell apart, Reuters reported.

The 2015 deal gave Tehran relief from most international sanctions as long as it allowed the U.N. watchdog to monitor its nuclear activities. But it began to unravel after the U.S.’s unilateral withdrawal in 2018 under then-President Donald Trump.

Iran also “will allow the IAEA to implement further appropriate verification and monitoring activities,” according to Saturday’s joint statement. “Modalities will be agreed between the two sides in the course of a technical meeting which will take place soon in Tehran,” it said.

Grossi said there was a “marked improvement” in his dialogue with Iranian officials, according to the AP. “I hope we will be seeing results soon. We will see.”

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