Back in February, Iran stopped the voluntary implementation of the Additional Protocol to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Safeguards Treaty, which stipulates enhanced international access to nuclear sites and snap inspections by the IAEA.
The halt came under the Strategic Action Plan to Counter Sanctions, a law passed in December 2020 by the Iranian Parliament, and adds to Iran’s previous steps away from the 2015 nuclear deal in response to the US’s unilateral withdrawal in 2018 and the other parties’ failure to fulfill their commitments.
At that time, the IAEA and the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) reached a temporary bilateral technical understanding, under which the latter would continue to use cameras to record information at its nuclear sites for three months, but it would retain the information exclusively. If the US sanctions are lifted completely within that period in a verifiable manner, Tehran will provide the footage information to the UN nuclear watchdog, otherwise it will be deleted forever.
The understanding expired this week amid diplomatic efforts in Vienna, Austria, to revive the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
Iran and the IAEA agreed to extend the understanding for a further month allowing the agency to continue necessary verification and monitoring work in the country.
Iran's Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) said that at a time when, the Vienna talks are underway in parallel with the technical negotiations between Iran and the IAEA to resolve the issues related to the Safeguards Agreement, Iran has decided to continue retaining recordings from monitoring equipment for one month in order to provide an opportunity for progress in the discussions.
“Both when the agreement between Iran and the IAEA was in effect and now that it has expired has expired, the Iranian parliamentary resolution, including the issue of the suspension of the voluntary implementation of the Additional Protocol, will continue without any compromise while any access to the Islamic Republic's nuclear sites and activities has been halted,” Nour News reported on Tuesday.
“The new decision of the Islamic Republic of Iran does not mean the extension of the three-month agreement that expired. However, it is a unilateral decision that the country has taken aimed at giving bilateral negotiations with the agency the necessary opportunity to make progress and reach conclusion.”
The report also noted that the wrong approaches towards the Iran-IAEA interactions, formed under pressure from the West, as well as the illegal sanctions must be removed in any possible agreement on the revival of the JCPOA.
“The previous agreement with the IAEA chief could be extended if a deal is reached within this month regarding the correction of aforesaid wrong approaches and if the talks on the JCPOA and sanctions continue and make progress,” it added.
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