Iran Refuses To Grant IAEA Access To Nuclear Facilities: “Agreement Has Expired”
At a moment the clock is said to be winding down toward a nuclear deal in Vienna, with both sides expressing increased frustration that things are dragging on too long, Tehran is playing hardball with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
Once again it’s over access to the country’s nuclear sites according to prior arrangements: “The speaker of Iran’s parliament said on Sunday Tehran will never hand over images from inside of some Iranian nuclear sites to the U.N. nuclear watchdog as a monitoring agreement with the agency had expired, Iranian state media reported,” Reuters writes Sunday.
In February Iran had struck a deal for a three month extension which allowed IAEA inspectors access to remote cameras and images from sensitive facilities. This came after months of Tehran officials threatening to boot IAEA monitoring from the country altogether.
“The agreement has expired… any of the information recorded will never be given to the International Atomic Energy Agency and the data and images will remain in the possession of Iran,” said Iranian Parliament Speaker Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf.
Over the weekend, just as the extension is set to expire, the IAEA demanded an “immediate response” over the “possible continued collection, recording and retention of data.”
But Iran’s position is that it’s fulfilled its obligations and therefore is not required to comply with such a request. Iranian ambassador to the IAEA, Kazem Gharibabadi, made clear to the UN watchdog that the Islamic Republic is under no such obligation.
— Iran International English (@IranIntl_En) June 27, 2021
This is yet the latest – but perhaps most significant – obstacle which could derail talks in Vienna. Currently there’s pressure on both sides to finalize a deal before Iran’s newly elected president, Ebrahim Raisi – a hardline protégé of the Supreme Leader – takes office in early August.
Sun, 06/27/2021 – 19:30
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