Iran and I.A.E.A. Reach Last-Minute Deal on Nuclear Monitoring

BRUSSELS — In a last-minute deal earlier than Iran was more likely to be censured for violating its agreements with the International Atomic Energy Agency, the brand new authorities in Tehran agreed on Sunday to let the group reset monitoring gadgets that assist measure the progress of the nation’s nuclear program.

That deal has been thought of a minimal requirement for a resumption of talks in Vienna on attempting to revive compliance with the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, which President Donald J. Trump deserted in 2018. President Biden desires to rejoin the deal, however talks, which haven’t resumed since June, have been hampered by the will of each Iran and the United States to change or improve it. The nuclear deal basically put robust limits on Iran’s means to complement uranium in return for the lifting of punishing financial sanctions.

Mr. Trump restored most of these sanctions and added to them; Iran responded by breaking the enrichment limits and is now a lot nearer to having sufficient extremely enriched uranium to create a nuclear weapon — which Tehran nonetheless insists it has no intention of doing.

The director common of the nuclear company, Rafael M. Grossi, made a rapid go to to Iran this weekend and labored out not less than a brief association with Mohammad Eslami, the chief of the nation’s Atomic Energy Organization.

In a joint assertion issued on Sunday, they agreed that I.A.E.A. inspectors may service the monitoring gear, which incorporates cameras, and change their storage playing cards with new ones. But as agreed in an analogous emergency deal final February, the contents of the storage playing cards are stored underneath seal and might be launched to the company solely when and if Iran and the United States agree on a revival of the 2015 deal, often called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

The I.A.E.A., charged with monitoring Iran’s nuclear program, has been more and more essential of Iran’s failure to cooperate with the company and of its longstanding refusal to offer explanations for the presence of traces of radioactive materials at a number of websites or about the place that materials could also be now. The company’s frustration was detailed in two confidential quarterly studies issued to the board final week.

The company’s board meets on Monday, and European members, together with the United States, had been threatening to censure Iran for its noncompliance. Iran and its new hard-line authorities led by President Ebrahim Raisi threatened to desert the nuclear arms talks in Vienna if a censure decision was handed.

China and Russia, additionally signatories to the 2015 nuclear deal, together with Britain, France, Germany and the United States, have argued for persistence with the brand new Iranian authorities and in opposition to the censure. That led to the drama of the most recent Grossi go to, which Russia negotiated with Iran.

But as time goes by and Iran strikes nearer to having sufficient materials for a bomb — estimated on Friday to be solely a month or so away by David Albright, a nuclear knowledgeable with the Institute for Science and International Security, a analysis establishment in Washington — the problem of reviving the 2015 deal grows sharper.

That deal was supposed to maintain Iran not less than 12 months away from having sufficient materials for a bomb. And critics say that Iran’s rising information of find out how to make and service trendy centrifuges and uranium steel — banned underneath the 2015 deal — can’t be unlearned, not to mention its separate advances in missile know-how.

European and American officers, reminiscent of Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken and Robert Malley, the U.S. particular envoy for Iran who’s dealing with the talks, have mentioned that the time interval for reviving the nuclear deal is “not open-ended.” And Mr. Raisi has but to decide to a date to return to the Vienna talks. Countries within the area, together with Saudi Arabia and Israel, have been expressing appreciable concern about Iran’s increasing nuclear program.

Mr. Grossi’s journey could have momentarily resolved among the complaints in one of many I.A.E.A.’s confidential studies, about lack of entry to monitoring gear. The company additionally mentioned that it did have entry on Sept. four to a centrifuge meeting website that was broken by sabotage, which Iran has blamed on Israel. But one in every of 4 cameras had been destroyed, its recording materials lacking, and one other broken. It will not be clear whether or not the recordings within the different cameras might be recoverable.

But questions within the second report, about radioactive traces discovered at 4 Iranian websites and summarized as “undeclared nuclear material and activities,” haven’t been answered by Iran in an inquiry that has been open since 2018.

“The lack of progress in clarifying the agency’s questions concerning the correctness and completeness of Iran’s safeguards declarations seriously affects the ability of the agency to provide assurance of the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program,” the report mentioned.

In Tehran on Sunday, Mr. Grossi mentioned, “I am glad to say that today we were able to have a very constructive result, which has to do with the continuity of the operation of the agency’s equipment here.” He mentioned that the association was “indispensable for us to provide the necessary guarantee and information to the I.A.E.A. and to the world that everything is in order.”

Mr. Eslami mentioned that Mr. Grossi would return to Iran quickly for additional talks. He didn’t say whether or not Iran would finally hand over copies of the older recordings, which Tehran had beforehand threatened to destroy.

“The memory cards are sealed and kept in Iran according to the routine,” Mr. Eslami mentioned. “New memory cards will be installed in cameras. That is a routine and natural trend in the agency’s monitoring system.”