Iran: UN agency urges Iran to resume stalled nuclear talks ‘now’

WASHINGTON: The International Atomic Energy Agency on Sunday urged Iran to resume talks “now” to avoid a crisis that could make it “extremely more difficult” to salvage the 2015 nuclear deal.
Iran this week disconnected some cameras allowing international inspectors to monitor its nuclear activities in response to a Western resolution passed on June 8, in which the UN agency denounced Tehran’s lack of cooperation.
Twenty-seven surveillance cameras “have been removed,” IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi said in an interview broadcast on CNN on Sunday, calling it a “very serious move”.
“Recent history teaches us that it is never right to say to international inspectors: go home… things get much more problematic,” he added.
The 2015 agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, gave Iran relief from crippling economic sanctions in return for curbing its nuclear activities.
But in 2018, then-US President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from the pact and re-imposed sanctions, prompting Iran to reverse its own obligations.
Talks to revive the deal have stalled since March.
In the CNN interview, Grossi said he told his Iranian colleagues: “We have to sit down now, we have to rectify the situation, we have to keep working together.
“The only way for Iran to gain the confidence, the confidence they so desperately need to propel their economy… is to have the IAEA inspectors involved.”
Without the surveillance cameras, Grossi said, his agency will soon be unable to declare whether Iran’s nuclear program is “peaceful” — as Tehran has repeatedly emphasized — or whether Iran is developing a nuclear bomb.
Even if the Iranians reconnect the cameras in a few months, Grossi said, the work they’re doing in the meantime will remain secret, potentially rendering an agreement useless.
Therefore, he said, the recent Iranian move “makes the road back to an agreement extremely difficult”.
While Trump withdrew the United States from what he said was a deeply flawed deal, his successor Joe Biden has said he is ready to embrace the deal again as long as Iran respects its own obligations as well.
But negotiators have been repeatedly frustrated and the possibility of failure seems closer than ever.
In an appeal Saturday with Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called on diplomats to salvage the agreement, according to a statement released Sunday.

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