TEHRAN, Iran – Foreign monitors will no longer be able to view video photos of Iran’s nuclear facilities, according to the speaker of Iran’s parliament, raising tensions despite diplomatic attempts in Vienna to save Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers.
The remarks of Iran’s parliament speaker Mohammad Bagher Qalibaf, broadcast on state television, highlighted the closing window for the United States and others to reach an agreement with Iran. The Islamic Republic is now enriching and stockpiling uranium at speeds far above those permitted by the nuclear agreement it signed in 2015.
The director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency said he would address reporters later Sunday in Vienna. An appeal for comment from the UN department was not promptly returned.
The IAEA said in 2017 that under an “Additional Protocol” with Iran, it “collects and analyses hundreds of thousands of photographs taken every day by its advanced surveillance cameras.” The organization also stated at the time that “2,000 tamper-proof seals on nuclear material and equipment” had been installed.
If European signatories do not have exemptions from oil and banking sanctions by February, Iran’s hardline parliament passed a bill in December that would cancel part of UN inspections of its nuclear facilities. The IAEA and Iran agreed to keep the surveillance photos for three months, with Tehran promising to remove them if no agreement was made.
Prior to Qalibaf’s remarks, lawmaker Ali Reza Salimi called for an open session of parliament to ensure that the photographs were “erased” by Iran’s civilian nuclear force. Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization did not respond to a request for comment on the announcement right away.
Salimi, a cleric from Iran’s central city of Delijan, said, “Order the head of the Atomic Energy Organization to prevent hesitation.” “Recorded photographs in the cameras should be removed,” says the study.
It was still unclear what this meant for IAEA in-person inspections. Iran is subject to IAEA protections at 18 nuclear plants and nine other sites.
In 2018, then-President Donald Trump secretly kicked the United States out of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, also known as the JCPOA. Since Trump’s withdrawal, a string of events has escalated, posing a threat to the whole Middle East.
An unexplained blast has occurred at Iran’s nuclear plant in Natanz, which Iran has attributed to sabotage.