May 24, 2021
Iran and the U.N.’s nuclear watchdog agreed on Monday to a one-month extension to a deal on surveillance cameras at Tehran’s atomic sites, buying more time for ongoing negotiations seeking to save the country’s tattered nuclear deal with world powers.
The last-minute discussions further underscored the narrowing window for the U.S. and others to reach terms with Iran as it presses a tough stance with the international community over its atomic program. The Islamic Republic is already enriching and stockpiling uranium at levels far beyond those allowed by its 2015 nuclear deal.
Speaking at a news conference Monday in Vienna, IAEA Director-General Rafael Mariano Grossi told journalists that came after a discussion with Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of Iran’s civilian nuclear program.
Kazem Gharibabadi, Iran’s representative to the IAEA, acknowledged the deal at the same time on Twitter.
Under a confidential agreement called an “Additional Protocol” with Iran, the IAEA collects and analyzes images from a series of surveillance cameras installed at Iranian nuclear sites. Those cameras helped it monitor Tehran’s program to see if it is complying with the 2015 nuclear deal.
Iran’s hard-line parliament in December approved a bill that would suspend part of U.N. inspections of its nuclear facilities if European signatories did not provide relief from oil and banking sanctions by February.
The IAEA then struck a three-month deal with Iran in February to have it hold the surveillance images, with Tehran threatening to delete them afterward if no deal had been reached.
Iran since has broken all the deal’s limits after then-President Donald Trump in 2018 unilaterally withdrew America from the accord. Negotiations continue in Vienna to see if both the U.S. and Iran can re-enter the deal, which limited Tehran’s enrichment of uranium in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions.