Iran to avoid censure by UN atomic watchdog after Grossi meet

Iran will evade fresh censure by the UN nuclear watchdog after making “concrete” commitments over the weekend to be transparent following the discovery of particles enriched to near weapons-grade, diplomats tell AFP.

The development comes after International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) head Rafael Grossi received assurances from Iran that surveillance cameras at several nuclear sites would be reconnected and the pace of inspections increased.

On Saturday, Grossi returned from a two-day visit to Tehran, which sought greater cooperation over its atomic activities, following the discovery of uranium particles enriched to near weapons-grade level.

Three Western diplomats tell AFP on the first day of the Board of Governors meeting of the Vienna-based IAEA that no new resolution criticizing Iran over its nuclear program was planned.

“But it remains to be seen whether anything agreed in Tehran results in real progress,” a Western diplomat cautions.

Grossi dismisses the perception that he had merely obtained empty promises from Iran over the weekend.

These are “not promises, we do have certain agreements which are concrete,” he tells reporters in Vienna.

“We seem to be moving into more firm ground,” he adds.

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Rafael Grossi, addresses a news conference during an IAEA Board of Governors meeting in Vienna, Austria, Monday, Feb. 6, 2023. (AP/Heinz-Peter Bader)

Grossi hails “a marked improvement” in his discussions with the Iranian government last week.

He said the measures he agreed with Iran should be in place “very soon” following a technical meeting due to travel to Tehran.

In January, the IAEA’s Grossi said Iran had “amassed enough nuclear material for several nuclear weapons.”

A confidential IAEA report seen by AFP detailed that uranium particles enriched up to 83.7 percent — just under the 90 percent needed to produce an atomic bomb — had been detected.

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