Right, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Rafael Grossi and Iran's Atomic Energy Agency chief Mohammad Eslami in Tehran, March 4, 2023.
Vienna/Tehran – Iran is ready to cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and provide it with additional information and access to continue its investigation into the discovery of uranium particles at three undeclared sites in Iran. Referring to a joint statement by the IAEA and Iran's Atomic Energy Agency, Reuters reported this today. After returning from Tehran, IAEA chief Rafael Grossi specified that the new agreement will allow the IAEA to re-connect cameras in Iran's nuclear facilities, while increasing the number of inspections.
Grossi returned today from Iran, where he met with the head of Iran's Atomic Energy Agency, Mohamad Eslami, and President Ebrahim Raisi. At a press conference in Vienna, he clarified the details of the joint statement between Iran and the IAEA.
“We have reached an agreement that the cameras and monitoring systems will be operational again,” Grossi said at Vienna airport. In addition, according to him, the number of visits to the underground Fordo plant, where uranium particles enriched almost to the level of an atomic bomb were recently detected, AFP reported. According to Grossi, the IAEA team will head to Iran in a few days.
The cameras were installed at the facilities after the conclusion of the international nuclear agreement between Iran and world powers in 2015, from which the United States withdrew in 2018. The cameras were removed last year.
When asked if all previous monitoring equipment would be reconnected at Iran's nuclear facilities, Grossi said yes, according to Reuters. When asked where it would be, he answered more generally that in a number of places.
A joint statement issued shortly before Grossi's press conference said that “Iran has expressed its readiness to continue to cooperate and provide additional information and access to resolve remaining safeguards issues.” Interactions between Iran and the IAEA will, according to the document, “continue in a spirit of cooperation and in full compliance with the powers of the IAEA and the rights and obligations of the Islamic Republic of Iran”.
In January, IAEA experts in Iran found traces of uranium enriched to 83.7 percent, i.e. just under 90 percent, which is needed to produce nuclear weapons. Foreign media reported on the find on Tuesday, referring to a non-public report. Iran says it wants to use nuclear energy only for peaceful purposes. He called the very high level of enrichment in traces found at the Fordo facility an “unintended fluctuation”.
In 2015, Iran signed a deal with world powers that included easing sanctions against Iran in exchange for curbs on Tehran's nuclear ambitions and assurances that Iran will not develop nuclear weapons. The agreement allowed Iran to enrich uranium to a maximum of 3.67 percent. US President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from the agreement in 2018 and renewed sanctions against Iran. Iran then began to violate the agreement. Negotiations on the renewal of the agreement are stagnant.