IAEA will not have access to images of Iranian nuclear sites, senior lawmaker says
The speaker of Iran’s parliament said on Sunday that a three-month monitoring agreement between Tehran and the UN nuclear watchdog expired on Saturday, Iranian national television reported, adding that the agency would no longer have access to images of nuclear sites.
The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Rafael Grossi, is due to hold a press conference on Sunday afternoon. It is in talks with Iran over extending the surveillance deal, which could affect talks between Tehran and six powers to revive the 2015 nuclear deal, the IAEA said.
“From May 22 and with the end of the three-month agreement, the agency will no longer have access to data collected by cameras inside nuclear facilities agreed under the agreement,” said Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf said, quoted by state television. He did not say if the images would be deleted.
Iran began to gradually violate the terms of the pact with world powers after then-President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the deal in 2018 and re-imposed sanctions.
The pact aims to prevent Iran from building nuclear weapons, which Tehran says it never wanted to build.
To pressure President Joe Biden’s administration to return to the nuclear pact and lift sanctions, the extremist-dominated Iranian parliament passed a law last year requiring the government to end implementation of the additional protocol from February.
As part of the 2015 deal, Iran agreed to observe the IAEA additional protocol which allows short-notice inspections in places not declared to the agency – to boost confidence that nuclear works are not secretly used for military purposes.
To give diplomacy a chance, the watchdog and Iran agreed in February to maintain “necessary” IAEA monitoring and verification activities in the Islamic Republic, although Tehran would reduce cooperation with the agency. .
Qalibaf told the public session of parliament, broadcast by state television, that Iran’s supreme authority, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, supported the decision.
“Yesterday it was discussed and the decision was taken. The law passed by parliament will be implemented. The Supreme Leader also stressed the importance of this issue,” Qalibaf said.
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