Sep 12, 2021 - World

Iran and UN watchdog reach deal on nuclear monitoring

Rafael Mariano Grossi and Mohammad Eslami give a joint press conference

Rafael Mariano Grossi and Mohammad Eslami give a joint press conference in Tehran on Sept. 12. Photo: Atomic Energy Organization of Iran/Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency reached an agreement on Sunday that will allow the United Nations' nuclear watchdog group to provide upkeep on its monitoring cameras at Iranian nuclear sites.

Why it matters: The last-minute agreement prevents another crisis on the road to restoring the 2015 nuclear deal, as Iran was on the cusp of being censured for violating its agreement with the IAEA, per the New York Times.

The big picture: Just last week, the IAEA said its efforts had been "seriously undermined" by the Iranian government's refusal to allow access to its monitoring equipment, which tracks the progress of Iran's nuclear program.

  • Under the new agreement, Iran has allowed the IAEA to "service the identified equipment and replace their storage media," according to the joint press release.
  • "We agreed over the replacement of the memory cards of the agency's cameras," Mohammad Eslami, head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, told local media, Reuters reported.
  • The "way and timing" of when the memory cards will be replaced must still be determined, noted the joint press release.
  • Rafael Mariano Grossi, director general of the IAEA, will meet with Eslami at the upcoming general conference in Vienna later this month, per Al Jazeera.
  • Grossi will also soon travel to Iran, the joint press release noted.
  • Enrique Mora, who has led the European Union delegation in Vienna nuclear talks, tweeted that the deal was a "positive step towards ensuring continuity of knowledge on Iran’s nuclear programme. Gives space for diplomacy. I appreciate the efforts."

State of play: The U.S. pulled out of the Iran deal in 2018 during the Trump administration, and the Iranian government has countered by violating the limits placed on its nuclear program.

Go deeper