Rouhani Photograph:( AFP )
Under the protocol with Iran, the IAEA will collect and analyze hundreds of thousands of images captured daily by its sophisticated surveillance cameras.
UN nuclear watchdog international atomic energy agency(IAEA) has struck a deal with Iran ensuring its officials will continue to monitor Iran's nuclear sites for up to three months but the deal also limits access to IAEA, ending its right to make snap inspections.
As part of its pressure campaign on the West, Tehran will go ahead with its plan to slash cooperation with the IAEA from 23 February.
The key part of Iran's plan for reducing cooperation is ending the right to carry out snap inspections at sites not declared to the agency. The IAEA chief Rafael Grossi has confirmed that the additional protocol is going to be suspended and the steps Iran would take this week would be "to a certain extent mitigated" by terms of a new temporary agreement.
"There is less access, let's face it. There is less access but still we were able to retain the necessary degree of monitoring and verification work for what it is as it be defined as you will see, I repeat it again, as a temporary technical understanding," Rafael Grossi said.
The new understanding will however be kept under constant review and can be suspended at any time. Iran had agreed to implement the protocol under the 2015 nuclear deal. Iran's parliament passed a law in December demanding the country suspend some inspections if the US failed to lift sanctions. The law is due to go into effect on Tuesday.
"In the first place we reconfirmed that Iran continue to implement the comprehensive safeguard agreement without any limitation as they have been doing so far," Grossi added, ”in the second place, we agreed that in view of the law and in particular the provision that established limitations, we reached a temporary bilateral technical understanding whereby the agency is going to continue its necessary verification and monitoring activities for a period of up to three months.”
Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif helped negotiate the agreement. Zarif said the cameras of the international atomic energy agency would be shut off despite Grossi's visit. Zarif said this was to comply with a law passed by Iran's parliament.
"We will be required by law not to provide the tapes of those cameras to the IAEA, well that is a technical decision that's not a political decision. I am not making that decision. It is at the technical level but IAEA will certainly not get footage from those cameras," Zarif said.
The IAEA has additional protocols with a number of countries it monitors. Under the protocol with Iran, the IAEA will collect and analyze hundreds of thousands of images captured daily by its sophisticated surveillance cameras.
There are 18 nuclear facilities and nine other locations in Iran under IAEA safeguards.