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IAEA Surveillance Cameras Reconnected at Iranian Nuclear Facility

By Nigar Bayramli June 17, 2023

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Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Rafael Mariano Grossi presents a surveillance camera at the agency’s headquarters in Vienna. / AFP

The Iranian nuclear spokesman has stated that Tehran has reconnected 10 surveillance cameras installed by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) at one of its main facilities.

“The data stored from those cameras at the Isfahan Centrifuge Manufacturing Centre will continue to be held off from the IAEA, pending an agreement with the watchdog,” the spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran (AEOI) Behrouz Kamalvandi added on June 15, according to the Asriran news website.

He further mentioned that all doubts have been resolved regarding two nuclear sites where the agency suspected the presence of highly enriched nuclear material, causing concern among Iran’s Western adversaries about the possibility of an impending atomic bomb.

On June 13, Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi accused the US and European governments of “not respecting their commitments” regarding discussions on the use of nuclear energy.

“We have always said that Iranian nuclear activities are peaceful and we have never been seeking nuclear weapons, nor will we seek them. We believe that the investigations also show that Iran is not seeking a nuclear weapon, but unfortunately [the] Americans did not respect their commitments, neither did the West,” Raisi said in an interview with a Venezuelan TV channel.

Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei declared on June 11 that Iran’s nuclear program is exclusively “peaceful” and emphasized that “US intelligence officials have repeatedly acknowledged this.”

“They know that the progress in the nuclear industry is the key to the country’s scientific progress. The nuclear weapon is just a lie and an excuse, and they know this,” Khamenei said at a meeting with the Iranian nuclear scientists and officials.

He reiterated that Iran has no intention of pursuing nuclear weapons since it is prohibited in Islam, and he added that if Iran had wanted to develop nuclear weapons, it could have done so by now.

Khamenei issued a fatwa (religious edict) in 2003 banning the use of nuclear weapons.

Following the US withdrawal from the nuclear deal in May 2018, Iran began gradually increasing its uranium enrichment. Last year, the IAEA Board of Governors reprimanded Iran twice for alleged lack of cooperation with the Agency’s safeguards investigation.

In response to the first reprimand, Iran removed monitoring equipment from several nuclear sites, including cameras in June 2022. After the second reprimand in November 2022, Iran raised the uranium enrichment level to 60% at the Fordow nuclear site.

According to a report by Bloomberg in February, IAEA inspectors discovered uranium enriched to a purity of 84 percent, just below the 90 percent required for a bomb. The inspectors are currently trying to determine if it was intentionally produced.