UN’s IAEA Will Not Be Handed Over Nuclear Site Images, Says Iran

The International Atomic Energy Agency, the nuclear watchdog of the United Nations, will never be handed over images from inside of some Iranian nuclear sites because of the expiry of a monitoring agreement with the agency and Iran, the speaker of country’s parliament said on Sunday according to reports in the Iranian state media.

“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 Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf as reported by the state media of Iran..

The negotiations between Iran and six major powers for the revival of a Iran and six major powers between them could get complicated further by the announcement. The former United States President Donald Trump withdrew from the pact three years ago and re-imposed very tough and crippling sanctions on Iran. In retaliation, Tehran resorted to violating many of the restrictions on the country’s nuclear programme that were imposed by the nuclear deal.

“Iran will also turn off the IAEA cameras if the United States fails to remove all sanctions”, a spokesman for parliament’s National Security and Foreign Affairs Committee warned, according to a report published in the website of the state-run Tehran Times newspaper.

The three month long monitoring agreement was struck between the IAEA and Iran in February with the aim of cushioning the hit of Iran reducing its cooperation with the agency. That deal allowed the global body to monitor of some activities of Iran that would otherwise have been axed to continue.

Data continues to be collected in a black-box-type arrangement under that agreement that was extended by a month on May 24, even though IAEA was able to access the data only at a later date.  

The IAEA made a demand for an immediate reply from Iran on Friday about whether Tehran wanted to extend the monitoring agreement. In response the Iranian replied that there was no obligation on the country to provide an answer to the UN body.

The issue of renewal of the monitoring agreement would be decided by the Supreme National Security Council of Iran only after the expiry of the document, Iran said on Wednesday.

If Iran did not extend the monitoring agreement, it would tantamount to a “serious concern” for broader negotiations, the United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Friday.  

The path to revival of the nuclear deal with Iran was riddled with a number of major issues which required resolution prior to reinstating of the deal, said parties that are involved in the negotiation for the revival of the deal. Negotiations on the deal started in April in Vienna.

(Adapted from Reuters.com)

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