Iran, IAEA thrash out ‘temporary solution’ ahead of nuclear deal deadline
Published: Feb 22, 2021 05:23 PM

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (first left) meets with the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Rafael Grossi (first right) in Tehran, Iran on Sunday. Photo: AFP

The UN nuclear watchdog chief announced Sunday a "temporary solution" to allow Iranian facility inspections to continue after days of talks with officials, giving some much needed breathing space for diplomatic negotiations.

However, Rafael Grossi admitted that under the new three-month arrangement, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) would not have the same level of access after a law was expected to come into force on Tuesday limiting some inspections.

Grossi's visit to Iran came amid stepped-up efforts between US President Joe Biden's administration, European powers and Tehran to salvage the 2015 nuclear deal that has been on the brink of collapse since Donald Trump withdrew from it and went on to impose sanctions on the nation.

In December, Iran's conservative-dominated parliament passed the law demanding a suspension of some inspections if the US failed to lift sanctions by Sunday.

Tehran had notified the UN body that if the suspensions were lifted it would suspend "voluntary transparency measures" - notably inspections to non-nuclear sites, including military sites suspected of nuclear-related activity.

Under the temporary agreement Tehran will for "three months record and keep the information of some activities and monitoring equipment," Iran's Atomic Energy Organization said in a statement.