World

IAEA reinstalls surveillance cameras in Iran nuclear sites

May 03, 2023
A 2015 view of Iran's uranium enrichment plant at Natanz. Much of it is built underground and protected by a thick concrete wall. — courtesy photo
A 2015 view of Iran's uranium enrichment plant at Natanz. Much of it is built underground and protected by a thick concrete wall. — courtesy photo

VIENNA — The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) announced on Wednesday that it reinstalled surveillance cameras in Iranian nuclear sites.

IAEA's spokesman Fredrik Dahl told the press in Vienna that work was under way to reinstall surveillance cameras at several sites.

Last June, Iran called on the IAEA to dismantle the cameras at its nuclear sites due tension with the west.

In March 2023, IAEA's Director General Rafael Grossi managed to convince Tehran to make some consensus in regards to this issue.

According to news reports, the surveillance cameras would not provide adequate data in regards to activities at the sites.

Grossi said in an April 1 interview with PBS NewsHour that the agency is “starting with the installment of cameras” and the “reconnection of some online monitoring systems.”

He said the process will take a few weeks and will increase the agency’s visibility into Iran’s nuclear program. He described the reinstallation of the surveillance equipment as a “de-escalation” of the tensions over Iran’s nuclear program.

Iran suspended IAEA access to certain facilities in February 2021 as part of its campaign to push the United States to lift sanctions, but agreed to allow cameras to continue surveilling those locations.

Tehran said it would turn over the data collected from the cameras to the IAEA if the 2015 nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), was restored.

Since Tehran switched off the cameras in June, there has been no monitoring of these facilities.

Despite Grossi’s confirmation that implementation is progressing, it is unclear how much the IAEA will benefit from the increased monitoring.

Grossi did not say if Iran will permit the agency to install an online enrichment monitor at the Fordow enrichment facility.

This was where the agency in January detected uranium enriched to a level of 84 percent uranium-235, well above the 60 percent U-235 level that previously was declared.

Under the JCPOA, Iran is prohibited from enriching uranium at the Fordow facility for 15 years, so the IAEA did not install an online enrichment monitor there as it did for Natanz, where Tehran is permitted to enrich under the deal.

Grossi also did not comment on whether the IAEA will have access to the recordings from the cameras or whether Tehran will turn over the data only if the JCPOA is restored or a new agreement is negotiated. — Agencies


May 03, 2023
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