Iran nuclear monitoring deal 'has expired'

·2-min read

Iran's parliament speaker says a three-month monitoring deal between Tehran and the UN nuclear watchdog expired on May 22, Iran's semi-official Fars news agency reports.

Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf was quoted as saying that the agency would no longer be able to access images from the Islamic Republic's nuclear sites.

"From May 22 and with the end of the three-month agreement, the agency will have no access to data collected by cameras inside the nuclear facilities agreed under the agreement," Fars quoted Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf as saying on Sunday.

The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Rafael Grossi, is to hold a news conference on Sunday afternoon local time.

He is in talks with Iran on extending the monitoring arrangement, which could affect talks between Tehran and six powers to revive the 2015 nuclear deal, the IAEA said.

Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States have been negotiating with Iran in Vienna for the past six weeks in the hope of restoring the 2015 accord aimed at preventing Tehran from developing nuclear weapons.

Then US President Donald Trump withdrew his country from the accord in 2018, from which point Tehran has increasingly violated its terms.

Under the 2015 deal, Iran agreed to observe the IAEA's Additional Protocol that permits short-notice inspections at locations not declared to the agency - to bolster confidence that nuclear work is not being covertly put to military ends.

Iran insists it has no intention of developing nuclear weapons.

To pressure President Joe Biden's administration to return to the nuclear pact and lift sanctions, Iran's hardline-dominated parliament last year passed a law obliging the government to end implementation of the Additional Protocol from February.

To give diplomacy a chance, the watchdog and Iran agreed in February to keep "necessary" IAEA monitoring and verification activities in the Islamic Republic, although Tehran would reduce co-operation with the agency.

Qalibaf told parliament's open session, aired by state TV, that Iran's ultimate authority, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, backed the decision to restrict access to images from the sites.

"Yesterday it was discussed and the decision was made," Qalibaf said.

"The law passed by the parliament will be implemented. The supreme leader has underlined the importance of this issue."

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