The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) says Iran has informed the United Nations nuclear watchdog that it is removing 27 surveillance cameras at its nuclear facilities following the recent Western-drafted anti-Tehran resolution by the agency’s Board of Governors.
“What we have been informed is that 27 cameras… are being removed in Iran,” Rafael Grossi said at a press briefing in the Austrian capital of Vienna.
He claimed that the move poses a serious challenge to the IAEA ability to continue working in Iran, adding that the decision would be “a fatal blow” if a solution was not found within three to four weeks to the issue.
Stressing that about 40 cameras remained in the Islamic Republic, Grossi said, “I invite Iran to engage with me immediately… We are in a very tense situation.”
Iran says the cameras that were removed were installed voluntarily by the country and their activity fell outside the scope of the agency’s Safeguards Agreement.
Elsewhere in his remarks, Grossi said Iran has already held onto the data recorded by the extra monitoring cameras since February of last year, “meaning the IAEA can only hope it will be able to access it at a later date. He added that “it was not clear what would happen to that data now.”
The anti-Iran resolution, proposed by the US, Germany, France and Britain, was approved by the IAEA’s 35-nation Board of Governors late Wednesday with 30 votes in favor, two against and three abstentions.
In his introductory statement to the board meeting, Grossi once again repeated his anti-Iran rhetoric, alleging that since February 23, 2021, the IAEA’s “activities have been seriously affected by Iran’s decision to stop the implementation of its nuclear-related commitments under the JCPOA, including the Additional Protocol.”
He claimed that Tehran “has not provided explanations that are technically credible in relation to the agency’s findings at three undeclared locations in Iran.”
Grossi’s remarks came despite frequent warnings by Iran that in case the Agency drifts away from its technical nature and makes a politicized decision related to its peaceful nuclear program, the country will respond in kind.
Earlier on Wednesday, Iran switched off two of the IAEA surveillance cameras which it had voluntarily allowed in a “goodwill gesture.”
The Atomic Energy Organization of Iran said the cameras functioned outside the Safeguards Agreement signed by Tehran. It added that Iran’s agreement to allow the cameras to run was not “appreciated” by the UN agency but considered an “obligation.”
Iran’s nuclear agency spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi said the Islamic Republic plans to take additional measures. “Other measures are being considered and we hope that they will come to their senses and respond to Iran’s cooperation with cooperation,” he said.
The trigger for the latest Western move was a report issued by the IAEA after Grossi made a controversial visit to Israel and met the regime’s leaders late last month. The agency has been on the receiving end of documents supplied by Israel about Iran’s nuclear program, which Tehran has rejected as fake and fabricated by MKO terrorists.
An Iranian Foreign Ministry statement denounced the resolution as a “political, wrongful and unconstructive act” against a country which “currently has one of the most transparent peaceful nuclear programs among the IAEA members.”
Underlining that the sponsors of the anti-Iran resolution are “responsible for the consequences,” the ministry said, “The adoption of this resolution, which is based on the hasty and unbalanced report of the director general of the IAEA and on false and fabricated information of the Zionist regime, will only weaken the process of cooperation and interaction of the Islamic Republic of Iran with the IAEA.”
Iran’s nuclear organization chief Mohammad Eslami also said on Wednesday that the Islamic Republic “has no hidden or undocumented nuclear activities or undisclosed sites.”
“These fake documents seek to maintain maximum pressure” on Iran, he added, referring to the draconian economic sanctions reimposed by Washington under former president Donald Trump.