Iran Threat to Block Last Minute Inspections

by christineanderso

Iran threatened to block last-minute inspections of nuclear facilities and called on Washington to lift economic sanctions before returning to the nuclear deal, in a statement Tuesday.

The Biden administration is expected to return to the international nuclear agreement with Iran, called the Joint Comprehensive Action Plan (JCPOA), signed in 2015. Former President Donald Trump removed the United States from the deal.

The Trump administration’s withdrawal from the agreement and reintroducing economic sanctions on Iran caused Iran to violate the terms of the agreement. Biden says Tehran must return to comply with the terms of the nuclear deal before the sanctions are lifted. Iran, on the other hand, wants sanctions to be lifted first.

Under the agreement, the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) was given the authority to supervise Iran’s nuclear activities. This includes, if deemed necessary, conducting last-minute inspections of nuclear facilities.

The spokesperson of the Iranian government, Ali Rebii, stated that the restriction of such inspections can be started as of February 19.

Rebii said, “The law on this issue is very clear. However, this does not mean that Iran will halt other IAEA inspections. ”

The parliament, dominated by hardliners in Iran, decided in December to harden the government’s nuclear policies if the US sanctions were not lifted within two months.

Iran has often stated that if US sanctions are lifted, it can quickly stop violating the agreement.

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif also expressed this possibility at a press conference in Moscow on Tuesday.

“If steps in our favor are taken in time, Iran will not interfere with the activities of IAEA auditors,” said Zarif.

In a later Twitter message, Zarif said that it was Washington who had to take the first step.

Iran’s Foreign Minister said, “Why should Iran be the country that has to take the first goodwill step? It was the United States that broke the deal for no reason. He should fix his mistake. After that, Iran will respond. ”

Iran had begun to enrich 20 percent uranium again this month at one of its nuclear facilities.

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