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Iran deal sparks hopes of wider nuclear talks with the US

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By euronews
Head of the AEOI Mohammad Eslami delivering a speech next to Director General of the IAEA Rafael Grossi
Head of the AEOI Mohammad Eslami delivering a speech next to Director General of the IAEA Rafael Grossi   -   Copyright  ATOMIC ENERGY ORGANIZATION OF IRAN / HANDOUT

A last-minute deal between Iran and the UN's nuclear watchdog has sparked hopes Tehran could soon return to the negotiating table with the US.

Talks to revive the Iran nuclear deal have been on hold since the summer.

The agreement in 2015 saw world powers promise to end international sanctions in return for Tehran ending some of its nuclear work. But the US, while under President Donald Trump, decided to pull out of the deal in 2018,

Now Iran has agreed to let the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) service surveillance equipment at the country's nuclear site.

It ends a standoff between the two. However, while filming can continue, no access to the recordings will be granted.

IAEA chief Rafael Grossi was in Tehran on Sunday amid heightened tensions between Iran and the West over Iran's nuclear programme.

The two sides have also agreed to continue their talks in Vienna as well as in Tehran, following discussions between Grossi and Iran's newly appointed nuclear agency head Mohammad Eslami.

"Today we're able to have a very concrete result which has to do with the continuity of the operation of the agency's equipment here, which is indispensable for us to provide the necessary guarantees and information to the IAEA and to the world that everything is in order." Grossi has said during the joint press conference with Eslami.

On the issue of UN inspectors' access to Iranian nuclear sites, the agency has been permitted to service the identified equipment and replace their storage media, which will be kept in Iran.

Tehran still holds all video recordings at its sites and had previously threatened to bar inspectors from reviewing video footage of its operations until the 2015 nuclear deal was back on track.

In the meantime, Iran continues to enrich small amounts of uranium to its closest-ever levels to weapons-grade purity as its stockpile continues to grow.

Additional sources • AP, AA