Iran and UN inspector reach agreement on cameras at nuclear facility

Iran and the UN inspector have reached an agreement on the imminent reinstallation of cameras at the Karaj nuclear facility, a move that is seen as indispensable to keeping alive the broader nuclear talks and the lifting of US sanctions on Tehran.

Those negotiations appear to be hanging by a thread judging by a string of negative comments from European diplomats when they discussed the progress of the talks at the UN security council on Tuesday.

The old cameras at Karaj had been taken away by Iran for investigation after what was presumed by Tehran to have been an Israeli attack on the facility in June. Suspicions were raised by Iran that the cameras had been hacked by Israel, which has not confirmed attacking the facility.

The nuclear inspectorate of the International Atomic Energy Agency said the cameras, to be installed in the coming days, would replace those that were removed earlier this year. It described the agreement as “an important development for the IAEA’s verification and monitoring activities in Iran”.

Rafael Grossi, the IAEA director general, said: “It will enable us to resume necessary continuity of knowledge at this facility. I sincerely hope that we can continue our constructive discussions to also address and resolve all outstanding safeguards issues in Iran.”

Under the new agreement, the agency will reinstall cameras to replace those removed from the workshop at Karaj and will perform other related technical activities before the end of December on a date agreed between the agency and Iran. Russia was particularly insistent that Iran reach a new agreement with the IAEA.

In a bid to reassure Iran that the cameras cannot be used by saboteurs, the IAEA “will also make available a sample camera and related technical information to Iran for analysis by its relevant security and judiciary officials, in the presence of the agency inspectors, on 19 December”.

The agreement struck on Wednesday has led to some criticism in conservative circles in Iran, with some describing it as an unnecessary concession, but pro-government figures said the deal removed any excuse from the west not to negotiate on the broader agenda in Vienna.

UN, US and European envoys said the talks were rapidly reaching the end of the road and would not allow Iran to stymie the negotiations.

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