June 28, 2022
U.N. watchdog chief declares that Iran monitoring is not “intact”.
WASHINGTON — The head of the U.N.’s nuclear watchdog says his monitoring program in Iran is no longer “intact” after Tehran refused requests to repair cameras at a key facility, creating the possibility the world will never be “able to reconstruct the picture” of what the Iranians have been doing.In an interview with NBC News,…

WASHINGTON — After Tehran refused to allow cameras to be repaired at a critical facility, the head of U.N.’s nuke watchdog said that his monitoring of Iran is not “intact”. This means that the world may never be able to “reconstruct the picture” of Iranian activities. In an interview with NBC News Director Rafael Mariano Grossi of the International Atomic Energy Agency stated that he has not been able to establish direct communication with Iran’s government since June, when a new hardline government led by President Ebrahim Risi was elected.

“I have never spoken to the new foreign minister,” Grossi says. Grossi says that he hopes to have the chance to meet with him soon. “So when there’s a problem, when it is misunderstanding, or when there are disagreements, we can discuss it.” It was something I had before and it would have been normal for me.” Grossi made the remarks during a Washington visit. The fate of the Iran nuclear agreement is in doubt. World powers are urging Iran to resume negotiations to bring it back to life, while the U.S. insists that time is running out. Grossi claims he has “no indication” Iran is currently seeking a bomb. However, he said that the world should only look at North Korea to see what’s at stake. IAEA inspectors were kicked out of North Korea, also known as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, in 2009, and the country is now believed to have dozens of nuclear warheads.

” The case of DPRK should serve to remind us what could happen if diplomatic efforts fail,” Grossi states. It’s a clear example. It’s an indicator, it’s the beacon. If diplomacy fails, you may be confronted with a situation that would have enormous political impact in the Middle East and beyond.”

The Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant, southeast of Bushehr, Iran, on Oct. 8, 2021. Iranian Presidency / AFP – Getty Images file

The 2015 Iran nuclear deal, struck by Iran, world powers and the U.S. under former President Barack Obama, imposed significant restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for relief from sanctions. Former President Donald Trump pulled the U.S. out of the deal in 2018 and reimposed harsh sanctions, leading Iran to brush off many of its commitments under the deal and to enrich uranium to 60 percent purity — near weapons-grade. The European partners and the Biden administration want to restore the agreement, but negotiations have stopped after six rounds. The United States and Israel now speak more openly about a Plan B, which is widely understood to be a military option to halt Iran’s nuclear program.

” “We are ready to turn to other alternatives if Iran does not change course,” Secretary Antony Blinken stated this month in a joint appearance with the top diplomat from Israel.

Iran did not respond to a request to comment. Iran has maintained its nuclear program is peaceful civilian purposes.

Earlier this year, after Iran stopped allowing IAEA inspectors to conduct snap inspections required under the 2015 deal, Grossi brokered a “stopgap” arrangement in which Iran would allow IAEA cameras to keep running. If the JCPOA was restored, this would allow global nations to piece together the events that occurred between the expiration and the present.

Grossi states that Iran has granted the IAEA access to most of its cameras in order to replace batteries and card with new ones. However, there is one exception: The facility in Tehran suburbs which makes centrifuge parts was damaged by Israel in June. Iran claims this was an act of sabotage. Grossi states that Iran has claimed it is continuing to investigate the attack and refused IAEA access.

It is now that the IAEA’s Iran monitoring and verification program is “no more intact,” Grossi states.

“It doesn’t have to paralyze what we are doing, but it has done damage, with the potential of us not being in a position to reconstruct the picture, or the puzzle, Grossi states. Grossi said that he and Blinken had been discussing the possibility of “trying to re-engage” if and when the JCPOA is reopened. He says that he and Blinken, who met with Grossi during his Washington visit, have been discussing the possibility of “trying to re-engage.”

“So there will be a possibility to go back there with our inspectors,” Grossi says, although he adds it’s impossible to know now whether the goal would be partial or full denuclearization given that the North already has nuclear weapons. He said that it would be much more difficult to establish an inspections regime in North Korea due to the proliferation of sites throughout North Korea’s vast nuclear program.

“It would be a very big effort,” Grossi says.

Image: Josh LedermanJosh Lederman

Josh Lederman is an NBC News correspondent.

Alana Heller


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