IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi addresses the media at Vienna International Airport after reaching a temporary deal for continued nuclear inspection during a visit to Iran. 21 February 2021. (Dean Calma for IAEA)

IAEA Reaches Deal With Iran on Nuclear Monitoring

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has reached a temporary deal with Iran so that monitoring of the country’s nuclear program can continue.

IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi  spoke at a press conference in Vienna on February 21, shortly after arriving from weekend talks in Tehran. Iran’s Parliament passed a law in December to partially suspend nuclear inspections if the United States did not lift sanctions imposed under the Trump administration. It goes into effect on February 23.

“We agreed that in view of the law, and in particular the provision that establishes limitations, we have reached a temporary bilateral technical understanding whereby the agency is going to continue its necessary verification and monitoring activities for a period of up to three months,” Mr. Grossi told journalists.

The arrangement means IAEA inspectors will have less access than under the 2015 deal on Iran’s nuclear program, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. The number of inspectors will not change.

“We agreed that we are going to keep this understanding we reached under review constantly so if…we want to suspend it or extend it, this can be done,” said Mr. Grossi. “The hope of the IAEA has been to be able to stabilize a situation which was very unstable,” he added.

“And I think this technical understanding does it so that other political consultations at other levels can take place, and, most importantly, we can avoid a situation in which we would have been, in practical terms, flying blind.”

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