On May 23, 2021, Iran’s parliament speaker told the country’s state TV that a three-month monitoring deal between Tehran and the UN nuclear watchdog expired. As a result, the access to images from inside some Iranian nuclear sites would cease.
“From May 22 and with the end of the three-month agreement, the (IAEA) agency will have no access to data collected by cameras inside the nuclear facilities agreed under the agreement” state TV quoted parliament speaker Mohammad Baqer GHALIBAF as saying.
Iran began gradually breaching terms of the pact with world powers after then-President Donald TRUMP withdrew the US from the deal in 2018 and reimposed sanctions.
The pact aims to keep Iran from being able to make nuclear arms, which the Iranian authorities say it has never wanted to build.
Iran and global powers have held rounds of negotiations since April 2021 in Vienna, working on steps that Iran and the US must take, on sanctions and nuclear activities, to return to full compliance with the nuclear pact.
Hassan ROUHANI the Iranian president said on May 19, that Tehran will continue the talks in Vienna “until reaching a final agreement”. He also repeated his statement earlier this week that “Washington has agreed to lift sanctions” on Iran, according to Iranian state media on Wednesday.
To pressure President BIDEN’s administration to return to the nuclear pact and lift sanctions, Iran’s hard line-dominated parliament passed a law last year to end its obligation to the IAEA to allow short-notice inspections to check nuclear work is not being covertly put to military ends.
The chief of IAEA, Rafael GROSSI is in talks with Iran about extending the agreement. The IAEA had planned for GROSSI to hold a news conference on Sunday but it said he was still “consulting with Tehran” and that his news conference had been postponed until Monday morning.
A member of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council said: “If extended for a month and if during this period major powers … accept Iran’s legal demands, then the data will be handed over to the agency. Otherwise, the images will be deleted forever”.
On May 24, 2021 the US Secretary of State BLINKEN said that it remains unclear whether Iran is “ready and willing” to take the necessary steps to return to compliance with the multination nuclear agreement.
“We know what sanctions would need to be lifted if they’re inconsistent with the nuclear agreement,” BLINKEN said on ABC this week.
He added: “Iran, I think, knows what it needs to do to come back into compliance on the nuclear side, and what we haven’t yet seen is whether Iran is ready and willing to make a decision”.