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May 23, 2021 12:34 pm

Iran: Parliamentary Speaker Says ‘Monitoring Deal Expired’

avatar by i24 News

Iranian lawmakers attend a session of parliament in Tehran, July 16, 2019. Photo: Nazanin Tabatabaee / WANA (West Asia News Agency) via Reuters.

i24 News – The tactical diplomatic battle between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) — as well as the other signatories of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, took another turn when the Islamic republic’s parliamentary speaker said that international inspectors may no longer access surveillance images.

Mohammad Bagher Qalibaf’s words had the effect of escalating the pressure in a bid to save the international accord regarding Iran’s nuclear ambitions, which it claims are for peaceful domestic purposes.

Qalibaf’s words further underlined what appears to be a narrowing window to seal a return for the US to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which it signed in 2015 but from which former President Donald Trump withdrew in 2018.

The Islamic Republic is already enriching and stockpiling uranium at levels far beyond those allowed by its 2015 nuclear deal, a suspicion of which led to the Trump team withdrawing from the agreement in the first place.

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“Regarding this, and based on the expiration of the three-month deadline, definitely the International Atomic Energy Agency will not have the right to access images from May 22,” Qalibaf said, according to the Associated Press.

The IAEA said that its Director-General Rafael Grossi would address the media Sunday in Vienna.

In December, the hardline Iranian parliament, emboldened after US President Joe Biden’s electoral victory over Trump, approved a bill to 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 secured an interim stopping order, according to which Iran was supposed to hold onto surveillance images for a three-month period; which Qalibaf said has now expired.

Iran has not let up its pressure on the United States and the other countries and international bodies involved in the return to the nuclear deal and the removal of sanctions. On Thursday, Iranian President Rouhani announced that “Western powers had agreed [in principle] to remove all major sanctions.”

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