IAEA warns of North Korea scenario in Middle East if Iran’s nuclear diplomacy fails

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UN atomic watchdog chief Rafael Grossi warned on Saturday that should nuclear diplomacy fail with Iran, the Middle East may find itself facing a scenario similar to that of North Korea.

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) agents were kicked out of North Korea in 2009 and now the country is believed to have dozens of nuclear weapons.

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IAEA Director General said in an interview with NBC News: “The case of [North Korea] should remind us of what may happen if diplomatic efforts go wrong.”

“It’s a clear example, it’s an indication, it’s a beacon. If diplomacy fails, you may be confronted with a situation that would have enormous political impact in the Middle East and beyond,” Grossi added.

The IAEA’s monitoring program in Iran is “no longer intact” after Tehran refused to repair cameras at nuclear facilities, Grossi said, adding that the UN watchdog might be unable to “reconstruct the picture” of what the Iranians are doing.

Iran said in September it refused to give the IAEA access to surveillance cameras at Iranian nuclear facilities.

Grossi also stressed that he has been unable to establish direct communication with the Iranian government since Ebrahim Raisi became president in June.

Experts believe Raisi has been stacking the deck by appointing hardliner government officials to pressure the US into making concessions that favor Tehran in the talks over reviving the abandoned 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

Talks to revive the nuclear accord which former US President Donald Trump withdrew from in 2018 have stalled under Raisi and Washington has repeatedly expressed that its patience was wearing thin and threatened an ambiguous “Plan B” should diplomacy fail.

“I have never spoken to the new foreign minister. I hope to be able to have the opportunity to meet with him soon because it’s very important… so when there is a problem, when there is misunderstanding, when there is a disagreement, we can talk about it. I used to have it before, and I would assume it that I would be the normal thing,” Grossi said.

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Iran says will not give IAEA access to surveillance cameras in nuclear facilities

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