TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran agreed Sunday to allow international inspectors to install new memory cards into surveillance cameras at its sensitive nuclear sites and to continue filming there, the head of its atomic program said, averting a diplomatic showdown this week.
Mohammad Eslami of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran announced the decision after a meeting he held with the director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Rafael Grossi, in Tehran.
Since late February, Iran has restricted IAEA inspectors from accessing the surveillance footage as Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers has collapsed.
The announcement could buy time for Iran ahead of an IAEA board meeting this week in which Western powers had been arguing for Tehran to be censured over its lack of cooperation with international inspectors.
The IAEA told member states in its confidential quarterly report last week that its verification and monitoring activities have been “seriously undermined” since February by Iran’s refusal to let inspectors access their monitoring equipment.
In Israel, Israeli Prime Minister Nafatli Bennett urged world powers to not “fall into the trap of Iranian deception that will lead to additional concessions” over the impasse.
“You must not give up on inspecting sites and the most important thing, the most important message is that there must be a time limit,” Bennett said. Iran “are dragging on, we must set a clear-cut deadline that says: until here.”
From Riyadh, the top diplomats of Saudi Arabia and Austria jointly expressed concern over Iran’s nuclear advances, with Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg citing “Iran’s failure to allow access for nuclear inspections.”
Gambrell reported from Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Associated Press writers Ilan Ben Zion in Jerusalem and Isabel DeBre in Dubai contributed to this report.