Iran on Wednesday agreed to give UN access to two alleged nuclear sites, as the head of the agency ended his first visit to Tehran.
The announcement came only hours after Iran’s arch foe the United States suffered a humiliating defeat when the United Nations blocked its controversial bid to reimpose international sanctions on the Islamic republic.
The US move had threatened to torpedo a historic 2015 accord under which Iran had agreed to curb its nuclear programme in exchange for sanctions relief.
The deal known formally as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) has been hanging by a thread since US President Donald Trump’s unilateral decision to withdraw from it in 2018.
Iran has retaliated by gradually reducing its commitments to the JCPOA ever since.
But it agreed on Wednesday to grant the International Atomic Energy Agency the access it has sought to two sites that were suspected of having hosted undeclared activity in the early 2000s.
“Iran is voluntarily providing the IAEA with access to the two locations specified by the IAEA,” the two sides said in a joint statement, adding they had agreed on dates for the access and the verification activities there.
The announcement came at the end of IAEA director general Rafael Grossi’s first visit to Iran since the Argentine took the post last year.
On return to Vienna, where the IAEA is based, Grossi told reporters that inspectors would visit the sites “very, very soon”. He said he could not reveal the exact dates.
In their statement, the two sides said the agreement followed “intensive bilateral consultations” and that the IAEA had no further access requests.