Iran shuts off 27 nuclear surveillance devices after IAEA censure
Vienna, Jun 9 (EFE).- Iran has turned off 27 surveillance cameras that had been set up to monitor nuclear activities at uranium enrichment sites, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief Rafael Grossi said Thursday.
Iran’s move comes in the wake of the UN nuclear watchdog imposing a resolution on Wednesday urging the Islamic Republic to fully cooperate with the agency’s inspectors.
The facilities in question are located in Tehran, Isfahan and Natanz, where a large uranium enrichment plant is located, Grossi told reporters.
Grossi added that 40 other IAEA cameras remain operational in Iranian facilities.
Electronic monitoring of Iran’s nuclear activities has been limited since February 2021, when Tehran cut direct access to such data for IAEA inspectors.
Since then, data from cameras has only been stored on hard disks, which – if the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear deal is restored at some future point – could be analyzed by inspectors to reconstruct Iran’s nuclear activities in the interim.
Iranian Atomic Energy Agency spokeperson Behruz Kamalvandi justified switching off the UN agency’s cameras by saying that the IAEA has not considered Tehran’s “good will” in cooperating with the agency, which Iran accuses of “having a political agenda.”
Kamalvandi, who personally supervised the switching off of the cameras, also warned that Iran could “take other measures” if the IAEA continues to demonstrate “inappropriate behavior.”
The clash between Tehran and the IAEA comes amid stalled negotiations to resurrect the JCPOA, which have been frozen since mid-March.
Negotiations had been ongoing since last year to find a way to revive the accord, under which the United States, Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Russia and China agreed to lift international sanctions on Iran in exchange for limits on its nuclear program.
But former US president Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew Washington from the agreement in 2018 and re-imposed strict sanctions on Tehran, which in return downsized its commitment to its atomic obligations.
Grossi said if this issue was not resolved within three to four weeks, it would be “a fatal blow” to the JCPOA. EFE