Status: 02/23/2021 11:42 am
By Karin Senz, ARD Studio Istanbul,
Iran wants to gain bargaining power by moving away from the international nuclear agreement – step by step. The latest move revolves around surveillance by the International Atomic Energy Agency IAEA based in Vienna.
Until now, their inspectors have been able to check various facilities in the country without prior notice and without limitation. It will no longer be so easy to do. Foreign Minister Mohammed Jawad Zarif announced, according to the state news agency IRNA, that the authorities had started restricting UN nuclear inspections. Details were not given.
Rescue mission of the IAEA chief
After his trip to Tehran over the weekend, IAEA chief Rafael Grossi admitted that he had only partially managed to avert a far-reaching restriction that Iran had previously threatened with. “Let’s be honest, we have less access. Nevertheless, we were able to ensure the necessary level of controls and monitoring – and that within the framework of a technical agreement.”
This provides for a three-month delay. All inspectors can therefore remain in the country as long as this. However, access to cameras installed in Iranian systems is restricted. At first it was said that the plug would be pulled. Grossi therefore spoke of a good result.
Foreign Office spokesman Said Chatibsadeh said on Monday that the cameras would “remain on for the next three months, but the video material will no longer be handed over to the agency. It will be kept by the Iranian Atomic Energy Agency for the next three months.”
Depending on the situation, the video material should either be handed over to Vienna in three months or destroyed, according to the national atomic energy authority.
Struggle for interpretation
Foreign Office spokesman Chatibsadeh emphasized that this is also in accordance with the law that Parliament has passed. Hardline MPs see it differently. You are protesting against it in parliament.
So does the international nuclear agreement, which is supposed to prevent Iran from building an atomic bomb, melt away, as experts believe? Most recently, a statement by the head of the secret service, Mahmud Alawi, made people sit up and take notice:
Our nuclear industry serves peaceful purposes. In a decree, the Supreme Leader declared that the production of nuclear weapons is un-Islamic and prohibited and that we are therefore not pursuing this goal. But when a cat is cornered, it no longer acts like a free cat. If Iran is cornered, then it cannot be blamed, but those who threaten it. Under normal circumstances he has no intentions or plans in that direction.
Even Iranian state-affiliated media criticize him for it. He is not in the position to express himself like that.
Perhaps that is precisely Alavi’s role in Iran’s strategy – to increase the pressure on the West through such scenarios and to let President Hassan Rouhani play the role of an outstretched hand towards the USA.
Because Rouhani wants to go back to the nuclear deal. The US would just have to lift all sanctions beforehand. But Washington rejects this and demands that Iran must adhere to the agreements in the agreement.
The new US administration had withdrawn the first measures taken by former President Donald Trump at the end of last week. For Tehran, however, these are just gestures. People want to see action, the Supreme Spiritual Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei repeatedly demanded. In the evening he puts pressure on state television again:
Iran is not limited to the level of 20 percent in enriching uranium. We will increase it if necessary. For example, for a nuclear drive or other work, we could go up to 60 percent. If there is a need, we will act.
So it looks like Iran is already preparing the next move.
Iran’s nuclear deal chess game continues
Karin Senz, ARD Istanbul, February 23, 2021 9:59 am