Iran says pictures of nuclear sites will not be given to the IAEA after the agreement expires


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The Iranian flag is seen in front of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) headquarters ahead of a press conference by Rafael Grossi, IAEA Director General, on the agency’s oversight of Iran’s nuclear program on May 24, 2021 in Vienna, Austria.

Michael Gruber | Getty Images news Getty Images

The speaker of the Iranian parliament said on Sunday that Tehran would never hand over images from inside some Iranian nuclear sites to the UN nuclear supervisor because the surveillance agreement with the agency had expired, Iranian state media reported.

“The agreement has expired … any recorded information will never be handed over to the International Atomic Energy Agency, and the data and images will remain in Iran’s possession,” Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf said.

The announcement could further complicate talks between Iran and the six major powers on reviving the 2015 nuclear deal. Three years ago then US President Donald Trump withdrew from the pact and reintroduced crippling sanctions on Tehran; Iran has reacted by violating many of the agreement’s restrictions on its nuclear program.

The IAEA and Tehran reached a three-month monitoring agreement in February to mitigate Iran’s strike by reducing co-operation with the agency, and allowed monitoring of some activities that would otherwise be allowed to continue.

Under the agreement, which was extended for a month on May 24, data is still being collected under a black box arrangement, and the IAEA can only access it at a later date.

On Friday, the IAEA requested an urgent response from Iran on whether to extend the surveillance agreement, urging the Iranian envoy to respond that Tehran is not obliged to respond.

Iran said on Wednesday that the country’s top national security council would decide whether to renew the supervisory agreement only after it expires.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Friday that any failure by Tehran to extend the surveillance agreement would be a “serious concern” for wider negotiations.

The parties involved in talks to revive the agreement, which began in April in Vienna, said there were major issues that needed to be resolved before the nuclear deal could be renewed.

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