IAEA Chief Warns of 'Fatal Blow' to JCPOA Talks as Iran Switches Off 27 Cameras at Nuclear Sites
Tehran earlier announced that it was switching off two devices monitoring enrichment of uranium gas at the Natanz plant. The more followed the IAEA's decision to censure the country over a purported failure to explain traces of radioactive materials outside its nuclear sites.
Head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Rafael Mariano Grossi has stated that Iran has turned off 27 surveillance cameras across several nuclear facilities during a press conference in Vienna.
Grossi claimed that the IAEA will be unable to maintain a "continuity of knowledge" regarding the state and process of the Iran's nuclear programme for three to four weeks due to the information blackout.
The IAEA head added that some 40 cameras remain operational in the Islamic Republic, helping to monitor Irans efforts in enriching uranium. However, cameras at the Natanz nuclear enrichment plant and Isfahan facility were partly or completely turned off, he asserted.
The head of the UN's nuclear watchdog further alleged that Tehran's move would greatly impede efforts to restore the nuclear deal known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). JCPOA talks have been already on pause for months over disagreements between the parties.
"We are in a very tense situation with the negotiations over the [nuclear deal are] at a low ebb. Now we are adding this to the picture; as you can see it's not a very nice one (...) This would be a fatal blow", Grossi said.
Tehran itself only claims to have switched off two cameras - an Online Enrichment Monitor and a flowmeter - which it states are not part of the NPT accord and were a goodwill gesture on Iran's part. The Islamic Republic decided to turn them off following an IAEA vote in which Iran was censured over an alleged failure to offer "credible information" as to why traces of man-made radioactive materials were detected outside nuclear sites.
Tehran strongly condemned the censure, calling it "political, incorrect and unconstructive". Iran also warned that it might take additional steps in light of the IAEA decision.
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