Iran to return UN cameras to nuclear centrifuge site, but keep footage – state media

Karaj was the target of a sabotage attack in June that Iran blames on Israel

The alleged Karaj centrifuge parts plant near Karaj, Iran, seen in a photo posted online by Google user Edward Majnoonian, in May 2019. (Screenshot/Google Maps)
The alleged Karaj centrifuge parts plant near Karaj, Iran, seen in a photo posted online by Google user Edward Majnoonian, in May 2019. (Screenshot/Google Maps)

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran will allow the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog to reinstall cameras damaged at a site where it has centrifuge parts and manufacturing material, semiofficial Iranian news agencies reported Wednesday.

The decision will see cameras put back at Karaj, which came under what Iran describes as a sabotage attack in June.

Iran had since refused the International Atomic Energy Agency access to replace cameras damaged in the incident.

The Vienna-based IAEA did not immediately respond to queries from The Associated Press regarding the reports by the semiofficial ISNA and Tasnim news agencies. The reports said Iran would keep all recordings from the cameras, however, part of another ongoing dispute between the agency and Tehran.

The reports came after Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian reportedly said earlier Wednesday that Iran had “reached a good agreement” with the IAEA.

Tehran blamed the Karaj assault on Israel amid a widening regional shadow war since former US president Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew America from Iran’s landmark nuclear accord with world powers.

In an interview Tuesday with the AP, IAEA Director-General Rafael Mariano Grossi warned limited access to Karaj hurt international efforts to monitor Iran’s program.

“If the international community through us, through the IAEA, is not seeing clearly how many centrifuges or what is the capacity that they may have … what you have is a very blurred image,” Grossi said. “It will give you the illusion of the real image. But not the real image. This is why this is so important.”

Grossi also dismissed as “simply absurd” an Iranian allegation that saboteurs used the IAEA’s cameras in the attack on the Karaj centrifuge site. Tehran has offered no evidence to support the claim, though it’s another sign of the friction between inspectors and Iran.

Negotiations continue in Vienna over trying to restore the nuclear deal. However, Iran under hardline President Ebrahim Raisi has taken a maximalist position in negotiations.

Anxiety is growing among European nations at the negotiating table.

“Without swift progress, in light of Iran’s fast-forwarding of its nuclear program, the (deal) will very soon become an empty shell,” they recently warned.

The US has remained outside of direct talks since abandoning the accord.

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