Iran ends tussle with nuclear inspectors by opening two sites

Bloombergand Iran gave International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors access to two sites suspected of housing small-scale atomic research two decades ago, easing a row that led to the body’s first censure of the Islamic Republic in eight years.

The decision was announced Wednesday during a visit to Tehran by IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi. Dates for access have been agreed, according to a joint statement, but they weren’t specified.

Allowing monitors in could further weaken U.S. efforts to restore UN sanctions. It suggests Iran is intent on retaining the support of the remaining signatories to the 2015 nuclear deal in the face of mounting efforts by Washington to collapse the landmark accord ahead of November’s election.

In June, the UN’s nuclear watchdog passed a European resolution reprimanding Iran for not allowing monitors access to the locations

The U.S. seized on the reprimand as further evidence of Iran’s deception over its nuclear ambitions. European powers voted with the Americans but stood by their engagement with Tehran and opposition to the Trump administration’s “maximum pressure” strategy that’s reimposed U.S. sanctions on the country.

“Iran’s relations with the agency are at a very good stage,” President Hassan Rouhani said in a statement on his official website shortly after the announcement. Grossi’s visit “showed the world that Iran is ready as ever to work closely with the agency in the framework of safeguards,” he said.

In 2018, Israel said it had found documents that proved Iran had a secret program to develop nuclear weapons some 20 years ago. Tehran rejected the claims as “lies” and part of a matter that the agency had dealt with at the time. IAEA monitors said they independently corroborated sufficient information to warrant a visit.