The UN nuclear watchdog and Iran said on Monday that an agreement to monitor Tehran’s activities would be extended for a month until June 24, as world powers hold talks to relaunch a deal nuclear 2015.
World powers have been meeting in Vienna since early April in a bid to bring Washington back to the deal – which the United States abandoned in 2018.
The withdrawal under then President Donald Trump and the reimposition of sanctions led Iran to step up its nuclear activities.
Iran limited the access of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to the nuclear sites it was monitoring under the 2015 agreement at the end of February.
A three-month agreement reached on February 21 allowing certain inspections to continue has been extended by one month, the IAEA said.
“The verification and monitoring activities that we have agreed will continue as they are now for a month expiring on June 24, 2021,” IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi told a press conference.
Tehran also agreed that information gathered so far by the agency’s equipment in Iran would not be erased, he added.
– ‘Not ideal’ –
Grossi said the outcome of this “long discussion” was “important” but that the situation was “not ideal”.
“We should all remember that the Temporary Agreement is a kind of interim measure. This is something that we have found to avoid flying completely blind, ”he said.
Iran’s Supreme National Security Council said in a statement that the one-month extension was intended to “provide the necessary opportunity for negotiations to progress and produce results.”
Iran’s envoy to the IAEA, Kazem Gharibabadi, also confirmed the extension of the agreement, Iranian news agency IRNA reported.
# photo1 ″ I advise (to the countries participating in the Vienna talks) that this opportunity, which has been provided by the good faith of Iran, be used for the complete lifting of the sanctions in a practical and verifiable manner ”, a- he declared.
Iran insists Washington must lift the sanctions it imposed after abandoning the deal before Tehran renounces its nuclear activities.
The 2015 deal asked Iran to cut back its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said Monday talks in Vienna depended on US “political decision” after Washington questioned Tehran’s willingness to return to compliance of the agreement.
“We have made very important progress and still believe that a deal is within reach,” he told reporters.
On Sunday, ahead of a fifth round of talks, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he remained uncertain whether Iran was “ready and willing” to take the necessary steps to return to compliance with the multinational nuclear deal.
Washington and Tehran have been participating in indirect negotiations in the Austrian capital since early April.
The EU-chaired talks also include Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia – with them acting as intermediaries between Washington and Tehran.
The aim is to complete the negotiations before the Iranian presidential elections in mid-June.
© 2021 AFP