Iran says it will block snap nuclear inspections if 2015 deal terms are not met


Iran's government on Monday warned that it would end the U.N. nuclear watchdog's ability to conduct snap inspections of nuclear sites in the country unless the U.S. and European countries involved in the 2015 nuclear accord fulfill their end of the agreement and lift sanctions.

A spokesman for Iran's foreign ministry made the announcement, according to Reuters, setting a Feb. 21 deadline for the U.S. and other countries to relax sanctions reimposed after the U.S. left the nuclear accord in 2017 under the Trump administration.

“If others do not fulfill their obligations by Feb. 21, the government is obliged to suspend the voluntary implementation of the Additional Protocol,” spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said, according to the news service.

“It does not mean ending all inspections by the U.N. nuclear watchdog. ... All these steps are reversible if the other party changes its path and honours its obligations,” he continued.

A bipartisan group of more than 100 lawmakers has called on President Biden to "remain firm" in his dealings with Iran, urging the administration to hold the Tehran accountable for its increased nuclear enrichment in the years following the U.S. departure from the accord.

“For the sake of national security, peace, regional stability, and the Iranian people’s desire for freedom, the United States remains firm in holding the Iranian government accountable both for its nuclear and other destabilizing activities in the region; such as, its support for terrorism, development of ballistic missiles, and human rights violations against its own people,” wrote the lawmakers.

The International Atomic Energy Agency, which handles inspections of Iran's nuclear facilities under the direction of the U.N., said in a confidential report this month that Iran has further enriched uranium that could be used to make nuclear weapons despite the government's denials, according to The Wall Street Journal.

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