08/27/2020, 00.00
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Iran to let AIEA inspectors visit two suspected sites

In a joint statement, Iran and the UN nuclear agency announce the visit, but timing and methods have not yet been disclosed. For analysts and experts, this is a sign of Iran’s openness. Meanwhile, the United States continues to push for snapback sanctions.

Tehran (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Iran has given the green light to the International Atomic Energy Agency (AIEA) to inspect two suspected former nuclear sites.

In a rare joint statement with the UN nuclear agency, Iranian authorities yesterday said that they were "voluntarily" providing access to AIEA inspectors. For analysts and experts, this is a sign of Iran’s openness.

"Dates for the IAEA access and the verification activities have been agreed,” the joint statement said; however, no time frame or terms were specified.

Meanwhile, tensions are growing between the United States and the other signatories of the 2015 nuclear agreement, with Washington trying to reimpose all UN sanctions.

On Monday, AIEA’s new director general, Rafael Grossi arrived in Iran for his visit on Monday, precisely to push Tehran to open up to inspectors.

From Argentina, Grossi was appointed AIEA’s top official last year and the Iranian file is one his priorities.

The two sites in question are suspected of holding undeclared nuclear material dating from the early 2000s, well before the nuclear deal was signed in Vienna in July 2015.

In June, the AIEA board of governors adopted a resolution asking Tehran to allow access to the two controversial sites, so as to shed light on the activities carried out in them.

The Iranian government has always claimed that its nuclear activities are not aimed at making an atomic bomb, dismissing charges by Israel and the United States as "groundless".

However, some evidence collected in the past by AIEA experts revealed "a range of activities relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device”.

High-level talks continue this week, ahead of next week’s meetings of the Joint Commission of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

Talks are led by the European Union. On 1 September, the representatives of China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, Germany and Iran will meet to discuss the fate of the agreement.

Last week, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, on an official visit to Israel, accused France, the UK and Germany of "siding with the ayatollahs".

Next Tuesday’s meeting will take stock of the situation, following the United Nations Security Council’s refusal to endorse the Trump administration’s decision to trigger the controversial "snapback" sanctions under the JCPOA against Iran.

Those opposed to the United States note that Washington unilaterally pulled out of the agreement in 2018, and, consequently, it is no longer a party to it and cannot legally use its provisions.

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