Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Iranian lawmakers criticize Tehran’s agreement with the Energy Agency


Iranian lawmakers protested Monday over Iran’s decision to allow the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to carry out “necessary” monitoring operations for up to three months, saying the decision violated a law that ends this week’s surprise inspection by the agency.
“The government has no right to decide and act arbitrarily,” Mojtaba Dhul-Nur, head of the Iranian parliament’s National Security Committee, said according to official media.

“This arrangement is an insult to Parliament,” he added.

Iran is gradually violating the terms of the 2015 nuclear deal with the major powers, since the United States withdrew from it under former President Donald Trump in 2018 and re-imposed sanctions on Tehran. The agreement aims to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons that Tehran says it has never attempted to produce.

Under the agreement, Iran agreed to implement an additional protocol allowing the International Atomic Energy Agency to conduct surprise inspections at undisclosed sites.

But in order to pressure the new US president, Joe Biden, the conservative-dominated parliament in Iran enacted a law last year that would oblige the government to end the implementation of the additional protocol from tomorrow, Tuesday, unless US sanctions are lifted.

To give diplomacy an opportunity, the UN agency reached an agreement with Iran on Sunday to limit the impact of reducing its cooperation with the agency and its refusal to allow surprise inspections.

Iranian authorities said that although the new agreement will keep the number of international inspectors the same, Tehran will withhold images captured by surveillance cameras in some of its facilities from the agency for the time being.

Iran has not identified any cameras at any facilities, but the Additional Protocol generally broadens the agency’s surveillance to include activities such as uranium mining.

Kazem Gharibabadi, Iran’s envoy to the agency, wrote on Twitter that if the United States lifted sanctions within the three-month period, Iran would allow the data to be shared with the agency.

“If not, Tehran will destroy the data forever,” he added.

But a number of prominent Iranian parliamentarians criticized the agreement and accused the government of circumventing the law.

The agency said in a statement on Sunday that it “will continue to carry out the necessary monitoring and verification activities for a period of three months.”

The Iranian Foreign Ministry said on Monday that Iran will continue to implement its basic commitment to the agency under the nuclear deal that allows monitoring of its declared nuclear facilities.

And both Tehran and Washington are ready to return to abiding by the nuclear agreement if the other side adheres to it first.



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