Iran to Continue Constructive Cooperation with IAEA

By agreeing to keep footage of nuclear sites for another month, Iran provided another opportunity to conclude bilateral technical negotiations with the IAEA, Salehi said
Iran to Continue Constructive Cooperation with IAEA
Iran to Continue Constructive Cooperation with IAEA

Iran is ready to continue its constructive cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency as before, according to the country’s top nuclear official. 
“We highly expect such a [mutual] determination would result in reaching a visible practical outcome as quickly as possible,” Ali Akbar Salehi, head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, said. 
He made the remarks in a letter to the IAEA chief, Rafael Grossi, after the agency issued two reports about Iran’s nuclear activities on Monday.
A quarterly report said Iran’s stockpile of enriched uranium is around 16 times the limit laid down in the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. 
It gave an estimate of a stockpile of 3,241 kilograms, much above the 202.8 kilogram limit set out in the JCPOA, but said that it was not able to verify the total because Iran has downgraded cooperation.
It also estimated that the current stockpile includes 62.8 kilograms of uranium enriched up to 20% purity, and 2.4 kilograms enriched up to 60% purity, well above the 3.67% purity allowed under the JCPOA.
Iran has stepped beyond the limits of the deal in response to the United States’ withdrawal and reimposition of sanctions that effectively jeopardized its JCPOA interests. 
In its latest move as per a parliamentary law, Iran suspended in late February its voluntary implementation of the Additional Protocol, under which the IAEA collects and analyzes images from a series of surveillance cameras installed at Iranian nuclear sites.



Another Opportunity 

Grossi said in the report that the agency has “not had access to the data from its online enrichment monitors and electronic seals, or had access to the measurement recordings registered by its installed measurement devices” since Feb. 23.
Based on a technical understanding with the IAEA, however, Tehran had agreed to keep the video footage and share it with the agency if it was provided relief from sanctions by a three-month deadline. 
“Whereas the Technical Understanding was expired on May 24, Iran decided not to extend it, meanwhile we decided to continue recording for one month aimed at providing another opportunity to conclude bilateral tech negotiations with the agency,” Salehi said in his letter, parts of which was posted on Twitter by Iran’s envoy to Vienna-based organizations Kazem Gharibabadi.  
The decision was also aimed at providing a window of opportunity for the ongoing negotiations in Vienna, Austria, aimed at bringing both the US and Iran back into full compliance with the JCPOA. 
Meanwhile, a senior diplomat with knowledge of the issue said that while the suspension of some inspections meant that the IAEA could not give precise figures for the stockpile, its level of access to declared sites has not been greatly reduced and its stockpile estimate would still be accurate to within a few percentage points, according to AFP. 
The report also showed a decrease in the rate of production of enriched uranium by Iran since the last quarterly report in February, which is widely linked to what Iran calls an act of sabotage by Israel in April at the underground Natanz nuclear facility that affected centrifuges there.



Substantive Cooperation 

In his other report to member states, Grossi voiced concern that Iran had not clarified queries over possible undeclared nuclear activity. 
“After many months, Iran has not provided the necessary explanation for the presence of the nuclear material particles at any of the three locations where the agency has conducted complementary accesses [inspections],” the report seen by Reuters said.
Three months ago Britain, France and Germany scrapped a US-backed plan for the IAEA 35-nation Board of Governors to criticize Iran for failing to fully explain the origin of the particles; the three backed off as Grossi announced fresh talks with Iran.
“The lack of progress in clarifying the agency’s questions concerning the correctness and completeness of Iran’s safeguards declarations seriously affects the ability of the agency to provide assurance of the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program,” Grossi added.
Salehi, on the other hand, said in his letter that “Iran has so far done its utmost efforts to cooperate with the agency substantively and provide the necessary clarifications and responses” on safeguards.
“We welcome the agency’s readiness for engaging in a proactive and focused effort to resolve the issues without any delay,” he added.  
A possible revival of the three European powers’ push for a resolution against Iran at the upcoming board meeting next week could undermine wider negotiations to restore the JCPOA. 

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