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Kamalvandi: IAEA’s inspections in Iran limited to Safeguards Agreement, nothing beyond that allowed

The spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) says since the Iranian Parliament passed the Strategic Action Plan to Counter Sanctions, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)’s inspections in Iran have remained limited to what is allowed under the Safeguards Agreement between Tehran and the agency.

Behrouz Kamalvandi made the remarks on Thursday in reaction to a Tuesday report by the Wall Street Journal, which quoted two confidential reports by the IAEA, claiming that “Iran is refusing to allow inspectors access to nuclear-related sites and hindering a probe by the United Nations atomic agency while continuing to expand its nuclear activities.”

The Iranian spokesman said all inspections of the country’s nuclear facilities beyond the Safeguards Agreement have come to a halt, but the IAEA continues those inspections, which fall within framework of the Safeguards Agreement, in the usual manner.

“Based on the Islamic Consultative Assembly (Iranian Parliament)’s Strategic Action Plan to Counter Sanctions, two months after this law was approved, and since no steps were taken to remove anti-Iran sanctions, we announced that there would be no more inspections beyond the Safeguards Agreement in the country,” Kamalvandi said.

The AEOI’s spokesman emphasized that the IAEA is no more conducting inspections based on the Additional Protocol to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) – which Iran had previously allowed on a voluntary basis – but only inspections in line with the Safeguards Agreement continue in the normal manner, as they are being conducted in other countries as well.

Back in February, Iran and the IAEA reached a technical understanding under which Tehran agreed to exercise more patience over the promised removal of the United States’ sanctions by keeping the recordings from its nuclear sites for three months to see if world powers could convince the US to remove its illegal sanctions.

Earlier, the Iranian administration had decided to stop its voluntary implementation of the Additional Protocol that allowed the IAEA to carry out short-notice inspections in Iran, denying IAEA inspectors access to the country’s nuclear facilities beyond the Safeguards Agreement.

The decision was made in accordance with a December 2020 law passed by the Iranian parliament – dubbed the Strategic Action Plan to Counter Sanctions – that prompted the Iranian administration to restrict the IAEA’s inspections and accelerate the development of the country’s nuclear program beyond the limits set by the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement.

Kamalvandi’s remarks came after on Tuesday, Iran’s representative to the international organizations in Vienna called on the IAEA to maintain its impartiality and professionalism towards Tehran’s nuclear activities.

Kazem Gharibabadi made the call after the IAEA’s chief, Rafael Grossi, claimed in a report that Iran is blocking access to some of its nuclear sites and continues to boost its stocks of uranium enriched above the percentage allowed in the 2015 nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

Gharibabadi stressed that all of Iran’s nuclear activities, including enrichment, are in full compliance with the NPT and the country’s commitments under the JCPOA and Safeguards Agreement.

The Iranian envoy also criticized the IAEA’s nuclear data recording of the country, saying the monitoring agreement between Iran and the agency was signed for a three-month period and was solely a political decision.

On Wednesday, President Ebrahim Raeisi warned the IAEA that its “unconstructive” attitude towards Iran could disrupt the course of nuclear negotiations.

Raeisi made the remarks during a phone call initiated by European Council chief Charles Michel, saying, “Instances of Iran’s serious cooperation with the agency serve as shining examples of its will to observe transparency in its nuclear activities.”

“[However,] the agency’s unconstructive attitude will be disruptive of the negotiation course,” Iran’s president said, adding, “Naturally, it defies logic to expect Iran to offer a constructive reaction to such attitude.”

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