The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) continues to defend a deal it reached with Tehran over inspections of Iran’s nuclear program in the face of Western pressure to condemn the agreement.
On February 23rd, Iran stopped voluntarily cooperating with the Additional Protocol, an aspect of the JCPOA that allowed the IAEA to conduct snap inspections. But IAEA chief Rafael Grossi struck a three-month deal with Iran’s government to soften the impact of ending the Additional Protocol.
“I want to emphasize that it is a temporary technical understanding and that it is compatible with Iranian law,” Grossi said of the deal on Monday. Iran was required to stop complying with the Additional Protocol by a law passed by the country’s parliament after the killing of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the Iranian scientist who was killed in an apparent Israeli plot.
The US isn’t happy with the agreement and is leading a push for the IAEA’s 35-nation Board of Governors to condemn it through a resolution at a meeting this week. Iran has threatened to scrap the deal if the resolution is adopted. The UK, France, and Germany are pushing the resolution even though it would do nothing but further complicate a revival of the JCPOA.
Defending the agreement, Grossi said it allows the IAEA “to resume its full verification and monitoring of Iran’s nuclear-related commitments under the JCPOA if and when Iran resumes its implementation of those commitments.”
Iran has been clear that it will return to the limits set by the JCPOA when the US returns to compliance with the deal by lifting sanctions. On Sunday, Iran rejected talks with the US and wants sanctions relief before any negotiations.
While President Biden has said he favors a revival of the JCPOA, so far, he has made no real effort to do so. With the Trump administration’s sanctions still in place and the US using them to leverage Iran into talks, Biden’s Iran policy is no different than his predecessors.