UPDATE 2-Iran says images of nuclear site will not be provided to IAEA because deal expired
(Add details and background on the broader nuclear talks)
By Parisa Hafezi
DUBAI, June 27 (Reuters) – The speaker of Iran’s parliament said on Sunday that Tehran would never turn over images of the interior of some Iranian nuclear sites to the UN nuclear watchdog, a monitoring agreement with the agency having expired, Iranian state media reported.
“The agreement has expired (…) none of the recorded information will ever be communicated to the International Atomic Energy Agency and the data and images will remain in Iran’s possession,” Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf said.
The announcement could further complicate talks between Iran and six major powers over relaunching a 2015 nuclear deal. Three years ago, US President Donald Trump withdrew from the pact and reimposed crippling sanctions in Tehran; Iran has responded by violating many of the deal’s restrictions on its nuclear program.
The IAEA and Tehran struck the three-month surveillance deal in February to cushion Iran’s blow in curtailing cooperation with the agency, and this allowed for continued surveillance of some activities that would otherwise have been halted.
Under the agreement, which was extended on May 24 for one month, the data continues to be collected in a black box-type arrangement, with the IAEA only able to access it at a later date.
The IAEA on Friday demanded an immediate response from Iran on whether it would extend the surveillance deal, prompting an Iranian envoy to respond that Tehran had no obligation to provide a response.
Iran said on Wednesday that the country’s Supreme National Security Council would decide to renew the surveillance deal only after it expires.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Friday that any failure by Tehran to extend the surveillance deal would be of “serious concern” to broader negotiations.
Parties involved in talks to revive the deal, which began in April in Vienna, said major issues remained to be resolved before the nuclear deal could be reinstated. (Written by Parisa Hafezi Editing by Toby Chopra and Frances Kerry)