Two U.N. surveillance cameras are turned off by Iran at its nuclear site

Iran claims it has shut down two U.

08 June 2022 Wednesday 10:44
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Two U.N. surveillance cameras are turned off by Iran at its nuclear site

Iran claims it has shut down two U.N. cameras that monitor its nuclear activities, just as the United States of America and European governments were ready to criticize Tehran for not cooperating with an international probe into its nuclear program.

This move raised doubts about efforts to restore the 2015 nuclear agreement to stop Iran developing nuclear weapons. It also highlighted rising tensions between Washington and Tehran.

Iran announced the move through state television and other media outlets. It stated that two cameras from International Atomic Energy Agency were deactivated. However, it did not specify which site was affected nor offer any further details.

Behrouz Kamalvandi spokeswoman for the Atomic Energy Agency of Iran and stated that 80 percent of IAEA surveillance cameras are still operational, according to state media.

Kamalvandi stated that Iran's cooperation was voluntary with the IAEA and that Tehran's obligations under NPT safeguards agreements were not affected by the camera.

This news was announced as the 35-nation IAEA board was due to vote on Thursday on a proposal that would rebuke Iran for not cooperating with the IAEA's investigation of its nuclear activities.

Rafael Mariano Grossi (director general of IAEA) stated earlier this week that Iran has failed to give credible explanations for undeclared nuclear material discovered at three locations.

Grossi also stated this week that Iran is close to having enough enricheduranium to make an atomic bomb.

Laura Holgate, U.S. ambassador, made the following statement Wednesday to the IAEA board governors. She accused Iran of not cooperating with the agency and called the decision of the IAEA to shut down two monitoring cameras "regrettable."

Holgate stated that if true, reports that Iran intends to reduce transparency as a response to this resolution were extremely regrettable. This is contrary to the diplomatic outcome we seek.

The U.S. ambassador stated that while the U.S. wasn't seeking to increase tensions by supporting a resolution against Iran, Washington was obliged to hold Tehran responsible for its position toward the IAEA.

"We are not taking this action in order to escalate a conflict for political ends. We seek no such escalation. This Board received a clear report from the Director General about the status of outstanding issues. She stated that the report made clear that Iran's insufficient cooperation and the long-standing deficit in verification assurance created by this situation, required that we all act."

A spokesperson for the State Department stated that Iran's actions will only complicate efforts to revive the 2015 nuclear agreement. Robert Malley, the US' chief negotiator in the negotiations, stated last month that the chances of the nuclear agreement being revived were at best "tenuous".

The spokesperson stated that Iran should respond by fully cooperating with the Agency and not expand its nuclear activities or reduce transparency.

The U.N. Mission in Iran did not respond immediately to a request for comment.

Iran claims its nuclear program is solely for peaceful purposes.

In a Tuesday statement to the IAEA board, Germany, France, and Britain said they are deeply concerned by Iran's nuclear activities that have exceeded the 2015 agreement. They also referenced reports by the IAEA that Iran had withheld camera footage since 2021.

"The I.A.E.A. "The I.A.E.A. has not had crucial access to data about centrifuge component manufacturing for over a year and a half," stated France, Britain and Germany in a joint statement. This means neither the agency nor the international community know how many Iranian centrifuges it has in its inventory, what number were built and where they might be located.

In exchange for an easement of U.S. economic sanctions against Tehran, the 2015 nuclear agreement, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), imposed restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program.

Donald Trump pulled the United States from the agreement in 2018, reimposed sanctions, and introduced new ones. The United States and other powers around the world have been trying to revive the Vienna accord since President Joe Biden took office. The talks have stalled in recent months.



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