TEHRAN (Dispatches) -A new report says a recent agreement between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to extend by one month an understanding to keep inspections alive is only meant to give the technical negotiations between the two sides a chance to reach a breakthrough.
Back in February, Iran stopped the voluntary implementation of the Additional Protocol to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Safeguards Treaty, which stipulates enhanced international access to nuclear sites and snap inspections by the IAEA.
The halt came under the Strategic Action Plan to Counter Sanctions, a law passed in December 2020 by the Iranian Parliament, and adds to Iran’s previous steps away from the 2015 nuclear deal in response to the U.S.’s unilateral withdrawal in 2018 and the other parties’ failure to fulfill their commitments.
At that time, the IAEA and the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) reached a temporary bilateral technical understanding, under which the latter would continue to use cameras to record information at its nuclear sites for three months, but it would retain the information exclusively. If the U.S. sanctions are lifted completely within that period in a verifiable manner, Tehran will provide the footage information to the UN nuclear watchdog, otherwise it will be deleted forever.
The understanding expired this week amid diplomatic efforts in Vienna, Austria, to revive the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
Iran and the IAEA agreed to extend the understanding for a further month allowing the agency to continue necessary verification and monitoring work in the country.
Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) said that at a time when, the Vienna talks are underway in parallel with the technical negotiations between Iran and the IAEA to resolve the issues related to the Safeguards Agreement, Iran has decided to continue retaining recordings from monitoring equipment for one month in order to provide an opportunity for progress in the discussions.
Extension of Iran-IAEA Agreement Not in Breach of Parliamentary Act
Abbas Araqchi, Iran’s top negotiator in the JCPOA talks in Vienna, emphasized that the extension of a technical agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency for another month was not in contradiction to the ‘Strategic Action’ ratified by the Iranian Parliament.
In an interview with Sputnik, Araqchi said Iran’s decision to keep recording data at its nuclear sites for one more month under an extended agreement with the IAEA has not violated the Parliament’s Strategic Action on lifting of sanctions.
Iran and the UN nuclear watchdog on Monday extended the technical agreement reached in February for another month, allowing the negotiators in Vienna to weigh plans for the revival of the 2015 nuclear deal.
The agreement allows the IAEA to maintain its monitoring equipment at Iranian nuclear sites, but Iran will keep the tapes until the JCPOA is restored and the U.S. sanctions are lifted.
Upon arrival in Vienna prior to a Joint JCPOA Commission meeting, Araghchi said that some significant and serious issues are still remaining that need to be solved during talks over reviving a 2015 Iran nuclear deal – known as JCPOA.
He expressed hope that Iran and the G4+1 will reach a final solution during this round of talks in the Austrian capital.
“Naturally, the main meeting provides a place on the sidelines of which bilateral and multilateral, formal and informal talks are held,” Araqchi said.
“We even had bilateral talks before the start of the Joint Commission meeting. I had a very good meeting with the Russian delegation right now. We reviewed the issues that need to be addressed in the negotiations, and thank God we had the same positions in most cases.”