Tehran: Iran officially has begun restricting international inspections of its nuclear facilities, state TV reported.
The move is a bid to pressure European countries and US President Joe Biden’s administration to lift crippling economic sanctions and restore the 2015 nuclear deal.
The state TV report gave little detail beyond confirming that Iran had made good on its threat to reduce cooperation with International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors.
“The law has gone into effect from this morning,” said Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, reiterating that Iran would no longer share surveillance footage of its nuclear facilities with the UN agency.
“We never gave them live video, but (recordings) were given daily and weekly,” Zarif said of the IAEA’s access to information recorded by camera monitors. “The tape recording of our (nuclear) program will be kept in Iran.”
The Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, Tehran’s civilian nuclear agency, has promised to preserve the tapes for three months, then hand it over to the IAEA — but only if granted sanctions relief. Otherwise, Iran has vowed to erase the tapes.
Iran announced its plans to cease implementation of the so-called “Additional Protocol,” a confidential agreement between Tehran and the IAEA reached as part of the landmark nuclear accord. The agreement grants the UN inspectors enhanced powers to visit nuclear facilities and watch Iran’s program.
Nearly three years ago, former US President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew America from the nuclear accord and reimposed sanctions on Iran that have squeezed its economy.
To create leverage over Washington, Iran has announced gradual breaches of the 2015 agreement over recent weeks. The country has started enriching uranium up to 20% purity, a technical step away from weapons-grade levels, as well as spinning advanced centrifuges and producing uranium metal.