A senior Russian diplomat says Iran’s possible extension of a technical agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on monitoring Iranian nuclear facilities will prevent “uncertainties” and “unjustifiable long-lasting negative effects.”
The Russian ambassador to international organizations in Vienna, Mikhail Ulyanov, on Friday expressed hope that Iran would answer positively to the UN nuclear agency’s initiative to extend the temporary agreement which expired on Thursday.
"The #IAEA hasn’t yet received a confirmation from #Iran that temporary understandings on verification will continue to work. Hopefully the positive answer will follow soon. It would allow to avoid uncertainties which can have unjustifiable long- lasting negative effects," Ulyanov, who is the head of the Russian delegation to Vienna talks aimed at reviving a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, said in a Twitter post.
The #IAEA hasn’t yet received a confirmation from #Iran that temporary understandings on verification will continue to work. Hopefully the positive answer will follow soon. It would allow to avoid uncertainties which can have unjustifiable long- lasting negative effects.— Mikhail Ulyanov (@Amb_Ulyanov) June 25, 2021
The IAEA said in a statement on Friday that its chief Rafael Grossi had written to Tehran about the possible extension of a temporary agreement covering inspections at Iranian nuclear facilities on June 17 but that "Iran had not replied to his letter or indicated whether it intends to maintain the current arrangement."
Grossi said "an immediate response from Iran is needed in this regard."
Back in February, Iran stopped the voluntary implementation of the Additional Protocol to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Safeguards Treaty, which stipulates enhanced access to nuclear sites and snap inspections by the IAEA.
The halt came under the Strategic Action Plan to Counter Sanctions, a law passed in December 2020 by the Iranian Parliament, and adds to Iran’s previous steps away from the 2015 nuclear deal in response to the US' unilateral withdrawal in 2018 and the other parties’ failure to fulfill their commitments.
At that time, the IAEA and the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) reached a temporary bilateral technical understanding, under which the latter would continue to use cameras to record information at its nuclear sites for three months, but it would retain the information exclusively. If the US sanctions were lifted completely within that period in a verifiable manner, Tehran would provide the footage information to the UN nuclear watchdog, otherwise it would be deleted forever.
The understanding expired in May amid diplomatic efforts in Vienna, Austria, to revive the 2015 nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
Iran and the IAEA agreed to extend the understanding for a further month until June 24, allowing the agency to continue necessary verification and monitoring work in the country.
Iran’s permanent representative to Vienna-based international organizations Kazem Gharibabadi on Friday reminded the IAEA that the country is only committed to honor its obligations under the Comprehensive Safeguards Agreements (CSA).
The IAEA head said earlier this month that it is getting increasingly harder to further extend the deal that the agency originally clinched with Iran in February after its first extension.
"I think it's becoming increasingly difficult," Grossi said and confirmed that there have been meetings, and that the Iranian side "has reiterated its will to engage and to cooperate and to provide answers."