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  • Iran nuclear deal

image source, Getty Imagesimage captionRafael Grossi (centre), head of the UN's nuclear watchdog, met with Iran's nuclear energy chief Mohammad Eslami (left) this week

Iran has agreed to allow the UN nuclear watchdog to service cameras used to monitor Iranian nuclear sites.

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors will also be allowed to replace the cameras' memory cards, and they will be kept in Iran.

Iran had previously blocked access to the cameras, and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) complained this was blocking its monitoring work.

IAEA head Rafael Grossi flew to Tehran this week as negotiations stalled.

During the visit, he met with Mohammad Eslami, the newly-appointed head of Iran's nuclear agency.

Both sides said the meeting was "constructive" and talks will continue at the IAEA's general conference in Vienna next month.

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Mr Grossi is expected to hold a news conference on his return to Vienna on Sunday.

Since February, Iran has said that it will only hand over camera tapes from key nuclear sites after an agreement is reached to lift US sanctions.

Western countries have accused Iran of trying to build nuclear weapons. Tehran has denied this, saying its nuclear programme is peaceful.

A deal was struck in 2015 between Iran and six other countries – the US, UK, France, China, Russia and Germany – which saw Tehran stop some nuclear work in return for an end to sanctions.

But tensions between Iran and the West have soared since 2018, when then-President Donald Trump pulled out of the nuclear deal and restored sanctions.

media captionIran's nuclear programme: What's been happening at its key nuclear sites?

In 2019, Iran responded by breaching many of the deal's major restrictions, like enriching uranium closer to a higher purity needed to make nuclear weapons.

Washington and its European allies have urged Iran's President Ebrahim Raisi, who took office in August, to return to the talks.

Mr Raisi has said he would support "any diplomatic plans" to end "illegal" US sanctions on Iran.

The latest deal struck by Iran and the IAEA comes after two confidential report by the agency were leaked.

The reports said Iran had previously failed to co-operate on the issue of monitoring equipment, which had been agreed under the 2015 nuclear deal.

They also said there had been no clear explanation given as to why traces of uranium were found at several old, undeclared nuclear sites.

In August, US President Joe Biden said that if diplomacy did not resolve the Iranian nuclear crisis, America was "ready to turn to other options".