Iran and IAEA agree deadline for detection of uranium particles found at undeclared nuclear sites

Iran and the UN nuclear watchdog agreed on Saturday to a three-month process that the watchdog hopes will resolve the longstanding problem of Iran clouding its investigations independent safeguards, after the discovery of uranium particles several years ago at apparently old but undeclared sites in the countryside.

The issue is seen as one of the obstacles to any potential revival of the Iran nuclear deal, which limits Iran’s uranium enrichment because the byproducts can be used to make the core of a nuclear bomb .

The prospect of striking a deal is currently in question as any deal will soon be superfluous. Observers believe that based on Iran’s known nuclear activities, the country will soon have enough material to power a nuclear bomb if the ruling regime decides it wants one.

Meanwhile, alongside investigations by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), 11 months after the start of indirect talks in Vienna between Iran and the United States on the rescue of the agreement on the plan Joint Comprehensive Action Plan (JCPOA) of 2015, negotiators are trying to iron out the remaining thorny issues in a matter of days as the deal’s death moment approaches.

A remaining issue, diplomats say, is Iran’s ‘red line’ request to drop the IAEA’s investigation into uranium particles found at three undeclared sites, suggesting that the Iran had nuclear material there that it did not declare to the agency.

The agency has long said that Iran has not given satisfactory answers on these questions. On Saturday, he announced a plan for a series of exchanges, after which IAEA chief Rafael Grossi “will endeavor to report on its conclusion by June 2022”. [IAEA] meeting of the Board of Governors”, which begins on June 6.

The Atomic Energy Organization of Iran will have to provide the IAEA with written explanations “including supporting documents relating to the issues raised by the IAEA that have not been addressed by Iran on the issues related to three sites by March 20, according to a joint statement. .

The plan could see a deal to revive the 2015 deal, although Grossi stressed its conclusion would not necessarily be positive.

“It would be hard to imagine that you could have a cooperative relationship [like JCPOA] as if nothing had happened if the clarification of very important safeguard questions failed,” Grossi told a press conference when asked what the effect would be on the relaunch of the agreement if the questions were not resolved.

“Most exceptional”

Meanwhile, Iran’s JCPOA negotiations also demand the lifting of the ‘foreign terrorist organization’ designation for its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, as well as guarantees that the US cannot backtrack on the deal. in the future.

Grossi suggested that the presentation of his conclusion take place before the JCPOA’s potential “reimplementation day.”

Grossi was speaking after a trip to Tehran during which he met with Iranian nuclear chief Mohammad Eslami and Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian.

While the plan provides a roadmap for resolving the agency’s open questions at the three sites, the agency has removed a fourth open issue from its list: the possible presence in the past of a metallic uranium disk. at another undeclared location.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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