clearn.png
Wednesday September 22nd, 2021 11:34PM

UN nuclear chief in Iran as it threatens watchdog's cameras

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — The head of the United Nations' nuclear watchdog met Sunday with Iranian officials in a bid to preserve his inspectors' ability to monitor Tehran's atomic program, even as authorities said they planned to cut off surveillance cameras at those sites.

Rafael Grossi's arrival in Tehran comes as Iran tries to pressure Europe and the new Biden administration into returning to the 2015 nuclear deal, which President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew America from in 2018.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who under President Hassan Rouhani helped reach the nuclear deal, said the cameras of the International Atomic Energy Agency would be shut off despite Grossi's visit to follow a law passed by parliament.

“This is not a deadline for the world. This is not an ultimatum,” Zarif told the government-run, English-language broadcaster Press TV in an interview aired before he met Grossi. “This is an internal domestic issue between the parliament and the government.”

“We have a democracy. We are supposed to implement the laws of the country. And the parliament adopted legislation — whether we like it or not.”

Zarif's comments marked the highest-level acknowledgement yet of what Iran planned to do when it stopped following the so-called “Additional Protocol,” a confidential agreement between Tehran and the IAEA reached as part of the nuclear deal. The IAEA has additional protocols with a number of countries it monitors.

Under the protocol with Iran, the IAEA “collects and analyzes hundreds of thousands of images captured daily by its sophisticated surveillance cameras,” the agency said in 2017. The agency also said then that it had placed “2,000 tamper-proof seals on nuclear material and equipment.”

In his interview, Zarif said authorities would be “required by law not to provide the tapes of those cameras.” It wasn't immediately clear if that also meant the cameras would be turned off entirely as Zarif called that a “technical decision, that's not a political decision.”

“The IAEA certainly will not get footage from those cameras,” Zarif said.

The Vienna-based IAEA did not respond to a request for comment on Zarif's comments, though Grossi was expected to address journalists on his return to Vienna late Sunday night. The agency last week said the visit was aimed at finding “a mutually agreeable solution for the IAEA to continue essential verification activities in the country.”

There are 18 nuclear facilities and nine other locations in Iran under IAEA safeguards.

From Washington, U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said President Joe Biden remained willing to negotiate with Iran over a return to the nuclear deal, an offer earlier dismissed by Zarif.

“He is prepared to go to the table to talk to the Iranians about how we get strict constraints back on their nuclear program," Sullivan told CBS’s “Face the Nation.” "That offer still stands, because we believe diplomacy is the best way to do it.”

On U.S. citizens being held by Iran, Sullivan added: “We have begun to communicate with the Iranians on this issue.”

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh told state TV late Sunday night responding to Sullivan that “there are no direct talks between Iran and the U.S. in any field.” However, Khatibzadeh said the Swiss Embassy in Tehran, which has looked out for American interests in the decades since the 1979 hostage crisis, has passed messages between the countries on prisoner issues since Biden took office.

Grossi met earlier Sunday with Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of Iran's civilian nuclear program. Iran's ambassador to the IAEA, Kazem Gharibabadi, later tweeted that “Iran and the IAEA held fruitful discussions based on mutual respect, the result of which will be released this evening.”

Iran’s parliament in December approved a bill that would suspend part of U.N. inspections of its nuclear facilities if European signatories do not provide relief from oil and banking sanctions by Tuesday.

Already, Iran has slowly walked away from all the nuclear deal's limitations on its stockpile of uranium and has begun enriching up 20%, a technical step away from weapons-grade levels. It also has begun spinning advanced centrifuges barred by the deal, which saw Iran limit its program in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions.

An escalating series of incidents since Trump's withdrawal has threatened the wider Mideast. Over a year ago, a U.S. drone strike killed a top Iranian general, causing Tehran to later launch ballistic missiles that wounded dozens of American troops in Iraq.

A mysterious explosion also struck Iran's Natanz nuclear facility, which Iran has described as sabotage. In November, Iranian scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, who founded the country's military nuclear program some two decades earlier, was killed in an attack Tehran blames on Israel.

Zarif brought up the attacks in his interview with state TV, saying the IAEA must keep some of its information confidential for safety reasons.

“Some of them may have security ramifications for Iran, whose peaceful nuclear sites have been attacked," Zarif said. “For a country whose nuclear scientists have been murdered in terrorist operations in the past — and now recently with Mr. Fakhrizadeh — confidentiality is essential.”

___

Gambrell reported from Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Associated Press writer Zeke Miller contributed.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News, AP World News, AP World News - International incidents
© Copyright 2021 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Djokovic beats Medvedev for 9th Australian Open, 18th Slam
Novak Djokovic has beaten Daniil Medvedev in three sets to win his ninth Australian Open championship and 18th Grand Slam title
5:49AM ( 9 minutes ago )
UK speeds up vaccinations: All adults get 1st jab by July 31
The British government says it aims to give every adult in the country a first dose of coronavirus vaccine by July 31, a month earlier than its previous target
5:37AM ( 21 minutes ago )
The Latest: Djokovic up by 2 sets in Australian Open final
Novak Djokovic has taken a two-set lead over Daniil Medvedev in the Australian Open final
5:10AM ( 48 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Frozen pipes, electric woes remain as cold snap eases grip
Higher temperatures are spreading across the southern United States, bringing some relief to a region weary of winter
11:52PM ( 6 hours ago )
Customers, staff fired back in gun store shooting; 3 dead
Authorities say a person entered a gun store in a suburb of New Orleans and fatally shot two people before he was fired upon and died
11:38PM ( 6 hours ago )
'I thought we were done': Parts fall from sky in plane scare
Federal regulators are investigating what caused a catastrophic engine failure on a United Airlines plane that rained debris on Denver suburbs as the aircraft made an emergency landing
11:22PM ( 6 hours ago )
AP National News
Debris falls from plane during emergency landing near Denver
Debris from a United Airlines plane fell onto Denver suburbs during an emergency landing Saturday, with one very large piece that appears to be part of the engine narrowly missing a home
10:07PM ( 7 hours ago )
Sheriff: 3 dead in gun store shooting in New Orleans suburb
Authorities say a person entered a gun store in a suburb of New Orleans and fatally shot two people before he was fired upon and died
9:51PM ( 8 hours ago )
2 Myanmar protesters killed by police fire, several injured
Riot police in Myanmar have shot dead two anti-coup protesters and injured several others as security forces increased pressure on popular revolt against the military takeover
9:39PM ( 8 hours ago )
AP Online National News
Garland says laws must be 'fairly and faithfully enforced'
President Joe Biden’s nominee for attorney general says the Justice Department must ensure laws are “fairly and faithfully enforced," while reaffirming an adherence to policies to protect the department’s political independence
10:31PM ( 7 hours ago )
Biden pays a visit to ailing former GOP Sen. Bob Dole
President Joe Biden paid a visit Saturday to former Sen. Bob Dole, days after the World War II veteran and 1996 Republican presidential nominee announced he’d been diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer
5:10PM ( 12 hours ago )
Senator seeks probe of natural gas price spikes during storm
A Democratic senator is calling for federal investigations into possible price gouging of natural gas in the Midwest and other regions following severe winter storms that plunged Texas and other states into a deep freeze that caused power outages in millions of homes and businesses
4:18PM ( 13 hours ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
Cruz trip tests durability of scandal, memory of voters
Ted Cruz has been one of Donald Trump’s staunchest allies and fiercest critics, personifying both sides of the bind the larger Republican Party now finds itself in
12:52AM ( 1 day ago )
US sanctions over pipeline from Russia deemed lacking by GOP
The Biden administration has added a layer of sanctions to a Russian vessel and the shipowner for their work on a new gas pipeline from Russia that is strongly opposed in the U.S. and eastern Europe
11:00PM ( 1 day ago )
Woman shot during protest against Myanmar coup dies
A young woman who was shot in the head by police last week during a protest against the military coup in Myanmar has died
10:24PM ( 1 day ago )
AP Online Congress News
Djokovic beats Medvedev for 9th Australian Open, 18th Slam
Novak Djokovic has beaten Daniil Medvedev in three sets to win his ninth Australian Open championship and 18th Grand Slam title
5:49AM ( 9 minutes ago )
UK speeds up vaccinations: All adults get 1st jab by July 31
The British government says it aims to give every adult in the country a first dose of coronavirus vaccine by July 31, a month earlier than its previous target
5:37AM ( 21 minutes ago )
The Latest: Djokovic up by 2 sets in Australian Open final
Novak Djokovic has taken a two-set lead over Daniil Medvedev in the Australian Open final
5:10AM ( 48 minutes ago )
The Latest: UK speeds up vaccinations; all adults by July 31
Britain says it aims to give every adult in the country a first dose of coronavirus vaccine by July 31, a month earlier than its previous target
4:54AM ( 1 hour ago )
The Latest: Djokovic takes 1st set of Australian Open final
Novak Djokovic has taken the opening set of the Australian Open final against Daniil Medvedev by a 7-5 score
4:34AM ( 1 hour ago )