Iran has begun removing several IAEA cameras from several nuclear generation sites. This comes a day after the United Nations’ International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) told off the Iranian government for failing to deliver credible information regarding nuclear materials found in their country.
According to Rafael Mariano Grossi, director-general of the IAEA, this development is being construed by the Agency as a possible blow – even a fatal one – to its attempts to cement a nuclear deal with the country. It is also sounding alarm bells because Tehran is on the verge of enriching its uranium holdings to a weapons-grade level.
Over the past several months, talks regarding restoring Iran’s 2015 nuclear agreement with several more powerful nations have been at a standstill.
At the moment, tension remains high throughout the Middle East, given the apparent failure of the accord. Moreover, the situation has been impacted further by ongoing sanctions by the United States against the country. In addition, rising food prices worldwide are putting the Iranian economy under great strain.
A Wrench in Plans
For his part, Grossi sees removing the surveillance cameras as a serious challenge to the IAEA’s ability to continue its work in the country.
Likewise, if the IAEA and the Iranian government failed to agree to restore the said cameras within the next four weeks, it may very well ring the death knell on the country’s nuclear deal.
Grossi suspects that the removal of the cameras will enable Iranian nuclear personnel to manufacture centrifuges that they may divert to unknown locations throughout the country.
A Hardline Stance
On the other hand, Iranian officials did not address the removal of the cameras directly, but they have insinuated that they could take more drastic measures.
According to Iranian nuclear program spokesperson Behrouz Kamalvandi, the government found the behavior of IAEA officials operating in the country “inappropriate” and unacceptable.
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi also stood his ground against the IAEA. During a visit to the city of Shahr-e Kord on Thursday, June 9, Raisi stated that his country would not change its mind, nor would it withdraw due to any resolutions made by the IAEA.
State-run television networks also aired footage of workers disconnecting the surveillance cameras at the nuclear site in an undisclosed location on Thursday evening. Likewise, Iranian authorities also shut down an online enrichment monitor and flowmeter installed by IAEA specialists at its nuclear facility in Natanz to monitor activity in the area.