Middle East/North Africa

Iran to prohibit nuclear watchdog from accessing footage from cameras at nuclear sites

Iran’s government will scale back its cooperation with international nuclear energy authorities as it continues pressure the Biden administration to relax sanctions put in place by the Trump administration, the country’s foreign minister said Sunday.

The Associated Press reported that Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and Rafael Grossi, head of the U.N.-led International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), met Sunday and announced in separate statements that Iran’s government was offering less access to inspectors.

Among the changes put in place by Iran’s government is the prohibition of accessing footage from cameras at Iran’s nuclear sites, Zarif reportedly said Sunday.

In an interview with the government-run news service Press TV, Zarif characterized the new stance as the result of law passed by Iran’s parliament.

“This is not a deadline for the world. This is not an ultimatum,” Zarif said. “This is an internal domestic issue between the parliament and the government.”

“We have a democracy. We are supposed to implement the laws of the country. And the parliament adopted legislation — whether we like it or not,” he added.

In his interview, Zarif accused the Biden administration of pursuing the same type of “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran as had the Trump administration, and insisted that Iran’s steps to reduce access to inspectors was allowed under remedial actions spelled out in the 2015 nuclear accord allowing Iran to act if the U.S. and other countries failed to live up to their end of the deal. The Trump administration reimposed sanctions under Iran previously eliminated under the deal after exiting the agreement in 2017.

“Nothing has changed. Biden claims that Trump’s policy of maximum pressure was maximum failure… But for all practical purposes, they are pursuing the same policy,” Zarif said.

“All the sanctions must be removed; the United States must gain reentry to the [nuclear deal],” he added.

 

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