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Spokesman: Iran Not to Give Access to IAEA beyond Safeguards Agreement

Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said that his country will not give the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors access to its nuclear sites beyond the safeguards agreement even if Tehran agrees to extend the two sides’ previous agreement.

“The issue is being discussed at the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) and is under final studies, and the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) will make an official announcement at the earliest when this process ends,” Khatibzadeh told reporters in a press conference in Tehran on Monday.

“It is important to note that this understanding does not provide access to the Agency beyond the safeguards agreement, this is an internal decision of the Islamic Republic of Iran to agree with the agency’s request to maintain its video recording within the framework of the Additional Protocol. No access to the Agency has been granted since the day the Parliament’s law was implemented,” he added.

“If the agreement is extended (between Iran and the IAEA), no access beyond the safeguards agreement will be granted to the Agency,” Khatibzadeh underlined.

He added that if Iran and the Group 4+1 (China, Russia, France and Britain plus Germany) reach an agreement in Vienna, the video recordings of Iran’s nuclear activities can be provided to the IAEA.

Iran’s Parliament Speaker Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf said on Sunday that the International Atomic Energy Agency has no right any more to get access to the footage recorded by the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) cameras that was to be kept for three months after a recent parliament approval to be transferred to the IAEA in case the US removes the sanctions as a result of the talks underway in Vienna.

“The IAEA has no right to access the camera footages and information of the AEOI due to the expiration of the deadline,” Qalibaf said in an open session of the Parliament, adding, “We are determined that the ‘Law on Strategic Action to Lift Sanctions and Protect the Interests of the Iranian Nation’ be implemented at the specific time and in accordance with the ratification, and the Leader has repeatedly emphasized this issue.”

According to the parliamentarian ratification, the IAEA’s access to the cameras in Iran’s nuclear facilities has expired since May 22.

Asked about the ongoing talks in Vienna, Khatibzadeh said that considerable progress have been made in the negotiations.

“We do not allow anyone to turn the negotiations into talks of attrition,” he added.

“The US tried with all its power to destroy the nuclear deal, and by inaction destroyed all potential possibilities and capacities for Iran’s benefit from the nuclear deal. It was Iran that took effective measures. They should take advantage of this window of opportunity as it will not remain open forever,” the spokesman said.

Asked about recent remarks by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken who had claimed that Tehran should first abide by its nuclear undertakings in order to have sanctions removed, he said, “(Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad) Zarif’s response suffices.”

“I would like to remind you that the US government has not only left the nuclear deal, but also violated all its undertakings under the Resolution 2231, and has a dark record of fulfilling its undertakings and is not in a position to return, except returning to its undertakings and fulfill its obligations. We recommend that they think of practical action instead of rhetoric. We will verify lifting of sanctions. If we see the necessary will on the US side, we will take compensatory measures after verification,” Khatibzadeh said.

Zarif said on Monday that the US should remove all sanctions against Tehran as a legal responsibility without using it as a negotiating leverage.

“Lifting Trump’s sanctions, @SecBlinken (US Secretary of State Antony Blinken), is a legal and moral obligation. Not negotiating leverage,” Zarif wrote on his twitter page, addressing Blinken who had claimed that Tehran should first abide by its nuclear undertakings in order to have sanctions removed.

The Iranian top diplomat underlined that the sanctions and pressures policy “didn’t work for Trump—won’t work for you”.

“Release the Iranian people’s $Billions held hostage abroad due to US bullying,” he said, stressing, “Trump’s legacy is past its expiration date. Drop it, @POTUS (the US president).”

Blinken on Sunday said that Tehran should abide by its nuclear undertakings in order to have sanctions removed.

“Iran, I think, knows what it needs to do to come back into compliance on the nuclear side, and what we haven’t yet seen is whether Iran is ready and willing to make a decision to do what it has to do. That’s the test and we don’t yet have an answer,” Blinken told ABC News’ This Week.

This claim is made while Iran has repeatedly stated that the US is the party that has left the nuclear deal and it should first lift all sanctions, and after the verification by Iran, Tehran will reverse its compensatory measures.

Earlier this month, the Iranian parliamentarians underscored the need for Washington to lift all sanctions imposed against Iran before Tehran reverses its modified nuclear deal commitments.

The Iranian legislators called on the government to seriously deal with the western side in Vienna talks and terminate implementation of the agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on the Additional Protocol to the NPT, given the fact that the deadline for reaching an agreement with the Group 4+1 (China, Russia, Britain and France plus Germany) in Vienna talks would arrive in few days later.

“Simultaneous with the Vienna meetings, the parliament emphasizes the policy of the Islamic Republic of Iran on the necessity for a real removal of all sanctions and its precise verification as the main condition for Iran’s adherence to its nuclear undertakings, and underlines that the truthful economic benefit of the Iranian people sets the criterion for assessing and accepting the results of talks between Iran and other nuclear deal member states,” the statement said.

“Therefore, the parliament does not accept any division and categorization of sanctions that would lead to maintaining a part of the economic pressures against the Iranian people and preventing economic benefits or disrupting them and seriously calls for complete, verifiable and irreversible lifting of sanctions which act as the US weapon, and believes that a partial removal of sanctions would be equal to the remaining of all sanctions, and accepting the remaining of a number of sanctions would mean an endorsement of their legitimacy,” it added.

The statement stressed that in order to achieve this goal, the parliament will monitor this process with special care and diligence in accordance with the Article 7 of ‘the Law on Strategic Action to Lift Sanctions and Protect the Interests of the Iranian Nation’.

“The Vienna meetings showed that the US and Europe do not yet have a serious will to lift all sanctions as they further seek to impose an agreement on Iran that would put further restrictions on its nuclear operations and pave the way for regional and defense talks,” it added.

The lawmakers said that the parliament insists on preserving and safeguarding the nuclear achievements of the country’s scientists given the excessive demands of the US and other western countries, including halting research and development activities and destroying the new generation centrifuges.

The statement noted that the Law for Strategic Action to Lift Sanctions has revolutionized the nuclear program and played an important role in the trend of talks on lifting the sanctions, and said, “Therefore, it is necessary for the government to rapidly implement all the technical provisions of this law, including launching of the uranium metal plant, the legal deadline for its operation has expired in accordance with the Article 4 (of the Law).”

The US, under former president Donald Trump, unilaterally withdrew participation in the agreement and re-imposed sanctions against Iran, which the accord had lifted.

The Trump administration subsequently launched what it touted as a campaign of “maximum pressure” against Iran, hoping to force the Islamic Republic to accept large-scale limits on its nuclear program and missile work, among other things.

The administration of US President Joe Biden has verbally renounced that policy and admitted to its failure, while expressing a willingness to return to the Iran deal. However, it has so far stopped short of taking any concrete steps to that end and retained the sanctions on the Islamic Republic.

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