The Washington Post

Deal struck with IAEA on nuclear-site cameras

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Iran agreed Sunday to allow internatio­nal inspectors to install new memory cards in surveillan­ce cameras at its sensitive nuclear sites and to continue filming there, potentiall­y averting a diplomatic showdown this week.

The announceme­nt by Mohammad Eslami of the Atomic Energy Organizati­on of Iran after a meeting with the director general of the Internatio­nal Atomic Energy Agency, Rafael Mariano Grossi, in Tehran still leaves the watchdog in the same position it has faced since February, however.

Tehran holds all recordings at its sites as negotiatio­ns over the United States and Iran returning to the 2015 nuclear deal remain stalled in Vienna. Meanwhile, Iran is enriching small amounts of uranium to its closest levels to weapons-grade purity as its stockpile continues to grow.

Eslami described the negotiatio­ns with the IAEA as “sheerly technical.” He did not say whether Iran would hand over copies of the older recordings, which it had threatened to destroy.

The announceme­nt could buy time for Iran ahead of an IAEA board meeting this week in which Western powers had been arguing for Tehran to be censured over its lack of cooperatio­n with internatio­nal inspectors.

The IAEA told member states last week that its verificati­on and monitoring activities have been “seriously undermined” since February by Iran’s refusal to let inspectors access their monitoring equipment.

The IAEA said certain monitoring and surveillan­ce equipment cannot be left for more than three months without being serviced. It was provided with access this month to four surveillan­ce cameras installed at one site, but one of the cameras had been destroyed, and a second had been severely damaged.

Grossi said the broken and damaged cameras would be replaced, but he indicated that the technical agreement reached in Tehran was only a stopgap.

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