Monday, 18 October 2021

Iran says IAEA access to nuclear sites images has ended, extension possible

REUTERS/Mehr News Agency/Majid Asgaripour

DUBAI – A three-month monitoring deal between Tehran and the United Nations nuclear watchdog expired on Saturday, Iran s parliament speaker told the country s state TV on Sunday, adding that access to images of nuclear sites would cease.

The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Rafael Grossi, is to hold a news conference on Sunday afternoon. He is in talks with Iran on extending the monitoring arrangement which could have an impact on negotiations between Tehran and six powers to revive a 2015 nuclear deal, the IAEA said.

“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,” state TV quoted Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf as saying.

Iran s state TV also quoted an unnamed official saying that the agreement between the agency and Tehran could be extended “conditionally” for a month.

“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,” according to the member of Iran s Supreme National Security Council.

Western diplomats have warned that not extending the IAEA deal could seriously harm efforts to salvage the 2015 nuclear accord, which aims to keep Iran from being able to make nuclear arms, which Tehran says it has never wanted to build.

Iran and global powers have held several rounds of negotiations since April in Vienna, working on steps that Tehran and Washington must take, on sanctions and nuclear activities, to return to full compliance with the nuclear pact.

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