San Francisco Chronicle

Tehran to re­duce ac­cess of U.N. nu­clear in­spec­tors

- By Amir Vah­dat, Jon Gam­brell and David Ris­ing Amir Vah­dat, Jon Gam­brell and David Ris­ing are As­so­ci­ated Press writ­ers. Military · U.S. News · Middle East News · Politics · Warfare and Conflicts · World Politics · Tehran · United Nations · Iran · United States of America · Vienna · Hassan Rouhani · Donald Trump · Washington · Sullivan · Joe Biden · International Atomic Energy Agency · Mohammad Javad Zarif

TEHRAN — Iran will pro­vide United Na­tions in­spec­tors “less ac­cess” to its nu­clear pro­gram as part of its pres­sure cam­paign on the West, though in­ves­ti­ga­tors will still be able to mon­i­tor Tehran’s work, the U.N. atomic watch­dog’s chief said Sun­day.

Rafael Grossi’s com­ments came after an emer­gency trip to Iran in which he said the In­ter­na­tional Atomic En­ergy Agency reached a “tech­ni­cal un­der­stand­ing” with Tehran to con­tinue to al­low mon­i­tor­ing of its nu­clear pro­gram for up to three months. But his re­marks un­der­lined a nar­row­ing win­dow for the U.S. and oth­ers to reach terms with Iran, which is al­ready en­rich­ing and stock­pil­ing ura­nium at lev­els far be­yond those al­lowed by its 2015 nu­clear deal with world pow­ers.

“The hope of the IAEA has been to sta­bi­lize a sit­u­a­tion which was very un­sta­ble,” Grossi said after his ar­rival back in Vi­enna, where the agency is based. “I think this tech­ni­cal un­der­stand­ing does it so that other po­lit­i­cal con­sul­ta­tions at other lev­els can take place and most im­por­tantly we can avoid a sit­u­a­tion in which we would have been, in prac­ti­cal terms, fly­ing blind.”

Grossi, the IAEA’s di­rec­tor gen­eral, of­fered few specifics of the agree­ment. He said the num­ber of in­spec­tors on the ground would re­main the same but that “what changes is the type of ac­tiv­ity” the agency was able to carry out, without elab­o­rat­ing fur­ther. He stressed mon­i­tor­ing would con­tinue “in a sat­is­fac­tory man­ner.”

Ira­nian For­eign Min­is­ter Mo­ham­mad Javad Zarif, who un­der Pres­i­dent Has­san Rouhani helped reach the atomic ac­cord, said be­fore his meet­ing with Grossi that the IAEA would be pre­vented from ac­cess­ing footage from their cam­eras at nu­clear sites.

Grossi didn’t ad­dress Zarif ’s cam­era re­marks Sun­day night, but stressed that Euro­pean and U.S. lead­ers needed to sal­vage the sit­u­a­tion through ne­go­ti­a­tions.

In 2018, then­Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump pulled the U.S. uni­lat­er­ally out of the nu­clear deal, known as the Joint Com­pre­hen­sive Plan of Ac­tion, say­ing it needed to be rene­go­ti­ated. From Wash­ing­ton, U.S. Na­tional Se­cu­rity Ad­viser Jake Sul­li­van said Pres­i­dent Bi­den re­mained will­ing to ne­go­ti­ate with Iran over a re­turn to the nu­clear deal.

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