On Wednesday, Tehran announced that the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Rafael Grossi, is visiting Iran Monday.
Grossi was invited to visit Iran after he complained about what he called an “astonishing” lack of contact with Iran’s new government. Grossi claimed he hasn’t had any contact with the government, but he was in Iran in September and met with the country’s new atomic energy chief.
The IAEA chief will be in Iran just ahead of the IAEA’s 35-nation Board of Governors meeting that will be held next week. The visit will also come before the US and Iran resume indirect negotiations to revive the nuclear deal on November 29th.
The IAEA issued reports on Wednesday that outlined its issues with Iran. The main gripe is over a monitoring deal that was reached after Iran stopped voluntarily complying with the Additional Protocol, an aspect of the JCPOA that allows the IAEA to conduct snap inspections.
As part of the monitoring deal, the IAEA was allowed access to surveillance footage at Iranian nuclear facilities. But some IAEA cameras were damaged at a facility in Karaj, Iran, in a drone attack attributed to Israel. Iran removed some of the cameras, and the IAEA is demanding that Tehran allows it to reinstall cameras.
The fact is, Iran has no obligation to allow the IAEA to reinstall the cameras because it is no longer bound by the JCPOA. The IAEA report said reinstalling the cameras “has been widely recognized as essential in relation to a return to the JCPOA.” But until nuclear deal talks resume and Iran gets an idea of the US’s position, the Iranians have little motive to cut a new deal with the IAEA.