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EghtesadOnline: Iran’s recent technical understanding with the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency shows Iran’s good faith with regard to preserving the 2015 nuclear deal, Iran’s top diplomat said.

“Understandings w/ [with] @rafaelmgrossi show our good faith,” Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Twitter on Tuesday, after Iran officially suspended its implementation of the Additional Protocol to its Safeguards Agreement with the agency while leaving a temporary possibility for the resumption of verifications. 

As a party to the Non-Proliferation Treaty, Iran has a Comprehensive Safeguards agreement with IAEA. It also agreed to implement the Additional Protocol to CSA under the 2015 nuclear deal with the world powers, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. 

The additional law allows IAEA inspectors to carry out snap inspections of the country’s nuclear facilities. 

However, Tehran has been scaling back its commitments to the accord in response to the United States’ 2018 unilateral exit and reimposition of tough sanctions. 

Along this line, a law passed by the parliament in December, required the government to suspend more commitments, including adherence to the Additional Protocol, within two months, unless there was an easing of sanctions. 

Tehran eventually implemented the law at midnight Monday, as the deadline passed without a change in the sanctions regime by the new US President Joe Biden, who has shown interest in rejoining the deal, but refuses to return to JCPOA commitments. 

 

 

Room for Diplomacy 

 

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif confirmed that the implementation of the voluntary measures has stopped since early Tuesday. 

“Obliged by law, we halted voluntary implementation of Add'l Protocol,” he said in a tweet. 

He also reminded that the measure is in accordance with the provisions in paragraph 36 of JCPOA, which allows one party to suspend its commitments in case of non-compliance by others. 

“Fully compatible with JCPOA P36 since: - @POTUS [President Joe Biden] has yet to cease US violation - E3 continue to fail to meet obligations,” Zarif said in his tweet, referring to the Biden administration and the three European countries who have failed to meet their own JCPOA obligations. 

However, to leave room for diplomacy, Iran reached a technical understanding with IAEA chief Rafael Grossi on Sunday to enable the continuation of verifications in case of sanctions removal. 

Based on the agreement, Iran will leave cameras on its nuclear sites, but will not provide IAEA with the recorded data for three months. 

“If the sanctions are fully removed within three months, Iran will share the data with the IAEA; otherwise, it will be erased forever,” a statement by the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran said. 

Zarif described the understanding as a sign of Iran’s “good faith”, reiterating that “All remedial measures are reversible.” 

Iran has repeatedly declared that it will resume full compliance once US sanctions are effectively removed. 

 

 

Enrichment Levels

 

Iran has also resumed enriching to 20%, beyond the JCPOA’s 3.67%, as per the new legislation. 

On Monday, Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei said Iran might enrich uranium up to 60% purity if the country needed it, while repeating a denial of any Iranian intent to seek nuclear weapons.

He, however, noted that Iran would abide by JCPOA once again, if other parties fulfill their commitments. 

“A several-year agreement has been reached which we will abide by for the very several years if they [other parties] abide by,” he said. 

On the dame day, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken reiterated the US position to seek to strengthen and extend the agreement. 

“Working with allies and partners, we will also seek to lengthen and strengthen the JCPOA and address other areas of concern, including Iran’s [alleged] destabilizing regional behavior and ballistic missile development and proliferation,” he said in a pre-recorded speech at a UN-sponsored Conference on Disarmament in Geneva, Switzerland. 

The US seeks to renegotiate the timelines of the agreement and include non-nuclear issues. Iran roundly rejected any talks on a “done deal”, stressing that its defense capabilities and regional policies are absolutely non-negotiable.   

 

Iran IAEA Atomic Energy Agency