IAEA concerned about possible disruptions to monitoring of Iran nuclear program

The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency has expressed concerns about possible disruptions to its monitoring of Iran's nuclear program, as the country removes surveillance cameras.

IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi said at a news conference on Thursday that Iran had informed the agency it had begun removing 27 monitoring cameras from nuclear sites across the country. He said the locations include a facility that makes parts for uranium enrichment centrifuges.

Grossi said Iran's move "poses a serious challenge" to the IAEA's ability to continue its surveillance work. He said it would be "a fatal blow" to efforts to salvage the 2015 nuclear agreement between Iran and world powers unless steps are taken to restore the cameras within three to four weeks.

Iran struck the agreement in 2015 to curb its nuclear activities in return for a sanctions relief. But former US President Donald Trump pulled his country out of the accord and re-imposed sanctions in 2018. Iran has since sped up its nuclear activities, breaching limits set under the deal.

Grossi expressed his hope that talks with Iran would continue, including the possibility of him visiting the country.

The IAEA reported last month that Iran had failed to provide credible explanations for the discovery of nuclear substances at undeclared sites in the country.

The agency's board of governors passed a resolution on Wednesday criticizing Iran's response to the issue.

Iran announced on Wednesday that it had turned off two monitoring devices. It said the IAEA did not appreciate the country's cooperation with its inspections.