In anticipation of the resumption of the Vienna talks on rescuing the 2015 agreement limiting Iran’s nuclear programme in exchange for sanctions relief, the new hardline government in Tehran has signaled readiness to recommit to the deal by allowing UN inspectors to continue virtual monitoring of Iran’s nuclear sites.
A crisis was averted by a September 12th agreement by Tehran to permit the IAEA to replace expiring memory cards in monitoring cameras installed in nuclear sites. The deal was reached during a last-minute visit to Tehran by Rafael Grossi, director of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The expired cards will remain in Iran until a new agreement is negotiated in Vienna that will light unilateral US sanctions on Iran.
The meeting took place after the IAEA reported to its board of governors that Iran had not cooperated fully over recording equipment or provided an explanation for the discovery of minute particles of radioactive materials at locations which were not part of the nuclear programme. Censure by the board threatened to prompt Iran to pull out of the Vienna talks. They were launched during the presidency of moderate Hassan Rouhani, who championed the agreement reached during the US Obama administration but was undermined when Donald Trump pulled out in May 2018 and reimposed sanctions.
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