IAEA Warns Iran Nuclear Deal Partners to ‘Know Where They’re Putting Feet’ Amid Site Access Spat

© AP Photo / Mehdi GhasemiReaktor irańskiej elektrowni atomowej Buszer w Iranie
Reaktor irańskiej elektrowni atomowej Buszer w Iranie - Sputnik International, 1920, 24.10.2021
Iran’s nuclear programme is subject to a safeguard regime enforced by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Last month, the agency complained about lack of access to a centrifuge assembly facility near Tehran that was struck by a suspected Israeli sabotage attack this summer. Iran says the lack of access is related to its ongoing probe.
IAEA director general Rafael Grossi has warned that members of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) Iran nuclear deal should know what they’ll be getting into if the agreement is restored amid the agency’s inability to establish direct communication with the Islamic Republic’s new government, and problems with the monitoring of one of the country’s nuclear facilities.
“I have never spoken to the new foreign minister. I hope to be able to have the opportunity to meet with him soon because it’s very important,” Grossi complained, speaking to NBC News on Sunday.
“So when there is a problem, when there is a misunderstanding, when there is a disagreement, we can talk about it. I used to have it before, and I would assume it that it would be a normal thing,” the official said.
Commenting on the lack of full access to Iran’s nuclear facilities amid Tehran’s ongoing probe into a suspected Israeli sabotage attack in June targeting a centrifuge assembly facility in Karaj in the country’s north, Grossi stressed that so long as the IAEA’s access wasn’t complete, the monitoring programme could “no longer” be considered “intact.”
A nuclear research reactor at the headquarters of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, in Tehran - Sputnik International, 1920, 30.09.2021
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“It has paralysed what we are doing there, but damage that has been done, with a potential of us not being able to reconstruct the picture, the jigsaw puzzle. If and when the JCPOA will be restarted, I know that for the JCPOA partners to go back to an agreement, they will have to know where they are putting their feet,” the official said.

Grossi also expressed hope about the agency being allowed to return to North Korea – which has an active nuclear weapons programme, and which kicked inspectors out of the country in 2009, if diplomatic talks were restarted. “So there will be a possibility to go back there with our inspectors…It would be a very big effort,” he said.
Earlier this week, in a separate interview with a US think tank, Grossi said he had no information to suggest that Iran was covertly enriching uranium, and said he had “very high confidence” in the ability of his agency’s inspection regime “to know what is going on if we are allowed to do that.”
Grossi’s remarks come amid reports by Israeli media that the country’s military was training “intensely” for an attack on facilities central to Iran’s nuclear programme. The Jewish State has repeatedly alleged that the Islamic Republic is on the brink of obtaining nuclear weapons, but has recently scaled back these claims, with a recent estimate by the Military Intelligence Directorate indicating that Tehran was “not heading toward a bomb right now.”
In this Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2017 photo Two Israeli air force F-15s of the Knights of the twin tail 133 squadron fly over Ovda airbase near Eilat, southern Israel, during the 2017 Blue Flag exercise - Sputnik International, 1920, 22.10.2021
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Iran has long denied any intention to pursue nuclear weapons, and has accused the IAEA of focusing intently on its peaceful nuclear activities while ignoring Tel Aviv’s nukes (which Israel neither confirms nor denies possessing) in a policy known as ‘nuclear ambiguity’.
Iran, the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France, Germany and the European Union signed the JCPOA in 2015, with the treaty promising Tehran sanctions relief in exchange for limitations on its nuclear enrichment and stockpiling activities. In 2018, the Trump administration unilaterally pulled out of the agreement and restored sanctions, with Tehran ramping up enrichment in response after the agreement’s European signatories failed to find a workaround to the crushing restrictions.
The German-made INS Rahav, the fifth Israeli Navy submarine, arrives at the military port of Haifa on January 12, 2016. In September 2015, Israel received delivery of the fourth Dolphin 2 class submarines from Germany. A third of the cost was funded by Germany as part of its military aid to Israel. The submarines, the most sophisticated in Israel's fleet, can be equipped with missiles armed with nuclear warheads. - Sputnik International, 1920, 15.10.2021
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After stepping into office in January, the Biden administration moved to resume talks with Iran and other JCPOA parties on restoring the treaty to fully working order, holding six rounds of talks in Vienna. The talks hit a wall in June – as Iranians prepared to go to the polls to elect a new president, after both Tehran and Washington demanded that the other party be the first to take good will steps to return the JCPOA to full working order. The US side says Iran must first reduce its uranium enrichment and stockpiling activities back to JCPOA norms. The Iranian side insists that the US first drop its "illegal" sanctions, and stop trying to include a clause about Iran’s conventional missile programme or its ‘regional activities’ into the treaty.
Iran has expressed hopes to restart the JCPOA talks in Vienna early next month, but has also warned that it’s looking for “result-oriented” negotiations and not ‘talks for the sake of talks’. On Monday, US State Department spokesman Ned Price said that Washington was neither “optimistic, no[r] pessimistic” about the prospects for reaching an agreement, adding that negotiations could not go on indefinitely.
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