Time running out for deal with Iran: UN

43
2
Time running out for deal with Iran: UN

A cleaning staff works before a news conference attended by IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi at an IAEA Board of Governors meeting in Vienna, Austria on September 13, 2021. VIENNA, Nov 25, Reuters -- The United States threatened to confront Iran next month at the International Atomic Energy Agency if it doesn't cooperate with the watchdog, an increase that could undermine talks on reviving a 2015 big-power deal with Iran.

Tehran is locked in several standoffs with the IAEA, whose 35 nation Board of Governors is holding a quarterly meeting this week.

Then President Donald Trump pulled Washington out of the 2015 agreement that lifted sanctions in exchange for restrictions on Iran's atomic activities. Tehran progressively increased its nuclear work and decreased cooperation with the IAEA after imposing debilitating sanctions.

Iran is refusing to allow the IAEA access to re-install surveillance cameras in a workshop at the TESA Karaj complex. The IAEA wants answers on the origin of uranium particles at apparently old but undeclared sites, and says Iran keeps subjecting inspectors to excessively invasive physical searches. If Iran's non-cooperation is not immediately remedied, the Board will have no choice but to convene in extraordinary session before the end of the year, according to a statement to the Board of Governors.

It said it was referring especially to re-installing IAEA cameras at the Karaj workshop, which makes parts for advanced centrifuges that enrich uranium.

The workshop was hit by apparent sabotage in June, which Iran says was an attack by its arch-enemy Israel.

One of four IAEA cameras installed there was destroyed and its footage is missing. After the incident, Iran removed all the cameras. Israel hasn't commented on the incident.

IAEA chief Rafael Grossi said on Wednesday that he did not know if the workshop was operating again, and that time was running out to reach an agreement.

An extraordinary Board meeting would likely be aimed at passing a resolution against Iran, a diplomatic escalation that would cause antagonise of Tehran.

That could jeopardise the indirect talks between Iran and the United States on reviving the 2015 deal, which is due to resume on Monday.