Iran Says IAEA Access to Images of Nuclear Sites Ended | Middle East News
Tehran’s three-month watchdog deal with the UN nuclear watchdog expires, raising questions about the talks.
The speaker of Iran’s parliament said a three-month surveillance deal between Tehran and the UN nuclear watchdog has expired and its access to interior footage of some Iranian nuclear sites will cease.
Sunday’s announcement raised further questions about the future of the ongoing indirect talks between the United States and Iran on the revival of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.
“From May 22 and with the end of the three-month agreement, the agency (IAEA) will no longer have access to the data collected by the cameras inside the nuclear facilities agreed under the agreement. “, said the speaker of parliament, Mohammad Baqer Ghalibaf, quoted by state television.
The International Atomic Energy Agency and Tehran struck the three-month monitoring agreement in February to cushion Iran’s blow by reducing its cooperation with the agency, and this allowed for continued monitoring of Iran. certain activities that would otherwise have been suppressed.
IAEA chief Rafael Grossi is in talks with Iran on extending the deal.
European diplomats said last week that a failure to agree on an extension would plunge the wider indirect talks between Washington and Tehran over relaunching the 2015 deal into crisis. These talks are due to resume in Vienna this week.
The IAEA had scheduled Grossi to hold a press conference on Sunday, but said he was “still consulting Tehran” and that his press conference had been postponed until Monday morning.
An unnamed Iranian official reportedly said the IAEA-Tehran deal could be extended “conditionally” for a month.
“If they are extended by a month and if during that period the great powers … accept Iran’s legal demands, then the data will be passed on to the agency.” Otherwise, the images will be deleted forever, ”according to the member of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council.
Without commenting on the announcement made earlier by the speaker of parliament, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Sunday that Tehran would continue talks in Vienna “until a final agreement is reached.”
He also reiterated an earlier statement that “Washington has agreed to lift the sanctions” against Iran, according to Iranian state media.
US says it does not know if Iran is ready to return to the pact
Iran and world powers have held several rounds of negotiations since April in Vienna, Austria, working on steps Tehran and Washington need to take, on sanctions and nuclear activities, to return to full compliance with the nuclear pact.
Iran began to gradually violate the terms of the 2015 pact with world powers after former President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the deal in 2018 and reimposed the sanctions.
On Sunday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he was still uncertain whether Iran was “ready and willing” to take the necessary steps to return to compliance with the multinational nuclear deal.
Speaking ahead of a fifth round of talks in Vienna on saving the deal, Blinken was asked about Iranian reports that Washington had already agreed to lift some of the sanctions that have crippled the Iranian economy.
“We know what sanctions should be lifted if they are inconsistent with the nuclear deal,” he told ABC this week.
He added that, more importantly, “Iran, I think, knows what it needs to do to get back into nuclear compliance, and what we haven’t seen yet is if the Iran is ready and willing to make a decision.