Iran Says Deal Ends Allowing UN Inspectors Access To Nuclear Site Images
By RFE/RL May 23, 2021
The speaker of the Iranian parliament said on May 23 that a three-month monitoring deal between Tehran and the UN's nuclear monitoring agency has expired, escalating tensions amid diplomatic efforts to save the Iranian nuclear deal with world powers.
"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," Iran's semiofficial Fars news agency quoted Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf as saying.
His comments further underscored the narrowing window for the United States and others to reach terms with Iran. Tehran is already enriching and stockpiling uranium at levels far beyond those allowed by its 2015 nuclear deal.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said this week that it was in talks with Tehran on how to proceed with the monitoring deal. The IAEA had said its director-general would brief reporters later on May 23 in Vienna. The United Nations agency did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the AP.
Under what is called an "additional protocol" with Iran, the IAEA "collects and analyzes hundreds of thousands of images captured daily by its sophisticated surveillance cameras," the agency said in 2017. The agency also said then that it had placed "2,000 tamper-proof seals on nuclear material and equipment."
Iran's hard-line parliament in December approved a bill that would suspend part of UN inspections of its nuclear facilities if European signatories did not provide relief from oil and banking sanctions by February.
The IAEA struck a three-month deal with Iran to have it hold the surveillance images, with Tehran threatening to delete them afterward if no deal had been reached.
It wasn't immediately clear if the images from February had been deleted.
With reporting by AP and Reuters
Copyright (c) 2021. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.
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