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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

Nov 30, 2021 - World

U.S. fears Iran won’t scale back to 2015 nuclear deal

Officials gather in Vienna on Sept. 29 for the first day of renewed nuclear talks with Iran. Photo: EU Vienna Delegation/Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

U.S. officials have extremely low expectations as world powers resume negotiations with Iran to curb its nuclear program, believing the Iranians aren't yet ready to negotiate seriously, Axios is told.

Driving the news: Senior officials in the U.S. intelligence community have assessed the new Iranian president, Ebrahim Raisi, thinks of his predecessor, Hassan Rouhani, as a weak accommodationist who negotiated a bad deal with the U.S. and other world powers in 2015.

Nov 30, 2021 - World

Weapons-grade enrichment would "imperil" nuclear talks, diplomats warn Iran

The talks resume in Vienna. Photo: EU Vienna delegation handout via Getty

Senior diplomats from France, Germany and the U.K. briefed reporters Tuesday on the sidelines of the Iran nuclear talks in Vienna, saying that if Iran starts enriching uranium to 90% purity, the level needed to produce nuclear weapons, it would "seriously imperil" the negotiations.

Why it matters: Israel has shared intelligence with the U.S. and several European allies suggesting that Iran is taking technical steps to prepare to enrich weapons-grade uranium, as Axios first reported on Monday.

3 mins ago - World

Biden to warn Putin U.S. will add troops in Eastern Europe if Russia invades Ukraine

Putin meets Biden in Geneva. Photo: Peter Klaunzer - Pool/Keystone via Getty

President Biden will warn Russian President Vladimir Putin when they speak on Tuesday that if Russia invades Ukraine, the U.S. is prepared to increase its troop presence, capabilities and military exercises on NATO's "eastern flank," a senior administration official told reporters.

Why it matters: The administration believes it's increasingly likely that Putin will order an invasion.