Tag Archives: IAEA

Iran to host UN Chief ahead sanctions deadline.

Advertisements

The former president withdrew from the nuclear accord in 2018, while Iran started the next year to suspend its compliance with most key nuclear commitments in response.

UN nuclear watchdog head Rafael Grossi was to open talks Saturday in Iran on the eve of Tehran’s deadline for US sanctions to be lifted, as President Joe Biden called for “careful diplomacy”.

The deadline, set by Iranian lawmakers, carries the threat of a suspension of some nuclear inspections, stoking international concern about a possible expulsion of UN inspectors.

Advertisements

But Iran has stressed it will not cease working with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) or expel its inspectors.

Iran and the IAEA have yet to release details on the visit by the UN body’s chief Grossi that runs into Sunday.

He will “meet with senior Iranian officials to find a mutually agreeable solution, compatible with Iranian law, so that the @iaeaorg can continue essential verification activities in Iran”, Grossi wrote Friday on Twitter.

Advertisements

“Looking forward to success – this is in everybody’s interest,” he added.

Iran has notified the IAEA that it will suspend “voluntary transparency measures”, notably inspection visits to non-nuclear sites, including military sites suspected of nuclear-related activity, if the United States has not lifted the sweeping sanctions former president Donald Trump reimposed in 2018.

The new measures are to go into effect on Tuesday.

Iran’s atomic body spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi said last week that talks with Grossi will focus on how to cease “voluntary actions beyond safeguard (measures) and how to continue cooperation”.

Advertisements

‘Diplomatic back-and-forth’

The visit comes in the wake of Biden’s call on Friday for European powers to work together to curb Iran’s “destabilising” activities, a day after committing to rejoin talks on Tehran’s nuclear programme.

Biden told the Munich Security Conference that the United States would work closely with allies in dealing with Iran after his predecessor Trump took an aggressive unilateral approach.

Advertisements

“The threat of nuclear proliferation also continues to require careful diplomacy and cooperation among us,” Biden told fellow leaders via teleconference.

“That’s why we have said we’re prepared to reengage in negotiations with the P5+1 on Iran’s nuclear program,” he said, referring to the five UN Security Council permanent members and Germany.

Tehran has repeatedly said it is ready to return to its nuclear commitments on condition that Washington does so first by lifting the sanctions reimposed by Trump that have dealt a heavy blow to Iran’s economy.

Advertisements

Following an offer for talks by the Biden administration, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted Friday that Iran would “immediately reverse” its retaliatory measures if the US lifts “all sanctions imposed, re-imposed or re-labelled by Trump”.

The former president withdrew from the nuclear accord in 2018, while Iran started the next year to suspend its compliance with most key nuclear commitments in response.

In an opening gesture, the Biden administration has dropped a push for more sanctions crafted by Trump, and removed restrictions on Iranian diplomats accredited to the United Nations in New York.

Iran’s government spokesman Ali Rabiei on Saturday stressed that Tehran’s latest nuclear move will not prevent it from responding to any US show of goodwill, and expressed optimism regarding the ongoing diplomatic process.

Advertisements

It is “neither against our (deal) commitments nor an obstacle for proportionate and appropriate response to any US action to prove (its) goodwill,” he wrote in an op-ed on Iran daily.

“We can confidently predict that diplomatic initiatives will work well (to achieve) the desired outcome, despite diplomatic back-and-forths, which are the natural prelude to the return of all sides to commitments including the lifting of all sanctions in the near future,” he added.

Advertisements

#Newsworthy

Iran’s enriched uranium stockpile over set limit – IAEA, United Nations

Advertisements

IAEA says Iran’s stockpile of enriched uranium stands at more than 10 times the limit set in 2015 nuclear deal.

Iran continues to increase its stockpile of enriched uranium in violation of limitations set in the landmark 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, but has begun providing access to sites where the country was suspected of having stored or used undeclared nuclear material, the United Nations’ atomic watchdog agency said on Friday.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reported in a confidential document distributed to member countries that Iran’s stockpile of enriched uranium now stands at more than 10 times the limit set in the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers.

As of August 25, Iran had stockpiled 2,105.4kg (4,641.6 pounds) of low-enriched uranium, up from 1,571.6kg (3,464.8 pounds) reported on May 20.

Iran signed the nuclear deal in 2015 with the United States, Germany, France, the United Kingdom, China and Russia.

Advertisements

Known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), it allows Iran only to keep a stockpile of 202.8kg (447 pounds).

Iranian technicians work at a new facility producing uranium fuel for a planned heavy-water nuclear reactor, just outside the city of Isfahan 410km south of the capital, Tehran [File: Vahid Salemi/AP]

The IAEA also reported that Iran has been continuing to enrich uranium to a purity of up to 4.5 percent, higher than the 3.67 percent allowed under the JCPOA. It said Iran’s stockpile of heavy water had decreased.

The deal promised Iran economic incentives in return for curbs on its nuclear programme.

But in 2018, President Donald Trump unilaterally pulled the US out of the deal, saying it needed to be renegotiated.

Advertisements

Since then, Iran has slowly scaled back against the restrictions in an attempt to pressure the remaining nations to increase incentives to offset new, economy-crippling US sanctions.

Those countries maintain that even though Iran has been violating many of the pact’s restrictions, it is important to keep the deal alive because the country has continued providing the IAEA with critical access to inspect its nuclear facilities.

The agency had been at a months-long impasse over two locations thought to be from the early 2000s, however, which Iran had argued inspectors had no right to visit because they dated to before the deal.

Last week, Iran announced it would allow the IAEA access to the two sites, following a visit to Tehran by the organisation’s Director General Rafael Grossi.

Advertisements

The IAEA said Iran had granted its inspectors access to one of the two sites.

“Iran provided agency inspectors access to the location to take environmental samples,” a separate IAEA report seen by the AFP news agency said on Friday.

“The samples will be analysed by laboratories that are part of the agency’s network,” it added.

The report said an inspection at the second site will take place “later in September 2020 on a date already agreed with Iran”.


#Newsworthy..

Just in: IAEA of Iran meet in Vienna amid United States pressure.

Advertisements

Britain, France, Germany, China, Russia are attempting to save the 2015 accord with Iran following the US withdrawal.


The signatories to the faltering Iran nuclear deal are meeting in Vienna as the United States urges the reimposition of international sanctions on Tehran and the extension of the conventional arms embargo against it.

Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia are struggling to save the 2015 landmark accord with Iran, which has been progressively stepping up its nuclear activities since last year.

Tehran insists it is entitled to do so under the deal – which swapped sanctions relief for Iran’s agreement to scale back its nuclear programme – following the US withdrawal from the accord in 2018 and its reimposition of sanctions on Iran.

In a boost to Tuesday’s talks, the Iranian atomic energy last week agreed for inspectors of the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog to visit two sites suspected of having hosted undeclared activity in the early 2000s.

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) head Rafael Grossi had travelled to Iran on his first trip since taking up the top post last year and after months of calling for access.

“Iran is voluntarily providing the IAEA with access to the two locations specified by the IAEA,” Grossi and the head of Iran’s nuclear agency, Ali Akbar Salehi, said in a joint statement last week.

Advertisements

“Both sides recognise the independence, impartiality and professionalism of the IAEA continue to be essential in the fulfilment of its verification activities,” the statement read.

The IAEA stepped up pressure on Iran in June when its Board of Governors passed a resolution calling it to let inspectors into the sites and cooperate with the agency.

Results from any site visits are, however, expected to take three months, according to a diplomat familiar with the matter, so “it risks being a problem then with the Iranians” if anything undeclared and nuclear-related is found.

The Iranian atomic energy last week agreed to allow IAEA inspectors to visit two sites suspected of having hosted undeclared activity in the early 2000s [File: AP Photo]

US ‘isolated’
Mikhail Ulyanov, Russia’s ambassador to International Organisations in Vienna, on Monday posted on Twitter that “nuclear deal participants have a lot of topics to discuss”.

Advertisements

The meeting will be chaired by EU senior official Helga-Maria Schmid with deputy foreign ministers or political directors from Britain, China, France, Germany, Iran and Russia attending.

Mark Fitzpatrick, an associate fellow of the International Institute for Strategic Studies, said last week’s agreement on access kept “Iran generally in line with the rest of the world, against an isolated United States”.

The UN last week blocked the US bid to reimpose international sanctions on Iran, while Washington also failed to rally enough support to extend an arms embargo set to start to lapse from October.

But Fitzpatrick pointed out that “Iran’s nuclear activities remain of deep concern to those states that are dedicated to non-proliferation”.

Advertisements

Iran reportedly recently transferred advanced centrifuges used to enrich uranium from a pilot facility into a new hall at its main Natanz nuclear fuel plant, which was hit by sabotage in July.

An IAEA assessment published in June said Iran’s stockpile of enriched uranium was almost eight times the limit fixed in the accord.

The level of enrichment is still far below what would be needed for a nuclear weapon, but EU parties to the deal have urged Iran’s full compliance.

The IAEA, which regularly updates its members on Iran’s nuclear activities, is expected to issue a fresh report ahead of a meeting of member states to discuss the dossier later this month.


#Newsworthy…