Iran set to restrict IAEA access to nuclear sites : Regulation & Safety

  • Iran set to restrict IAEA access to nuclear sites : Regulation & Safety

Iran set to restrict IAEA access to nuclear sites : Regulation & Safety

Analysts say only a small window of opportunity remains to save the deal, which received a near-fatal blow when former U.S. president Donald Trump walked out of the accord in 2018 and reimposed sanctions on Iran. "This time [we want] only action from the other side and we will also act", Khamenei said in a speech.

Iran and the United States are at odds over who should make the first step to revive the accord.

"The E3 and the United States affirmed their shared objective of Iran's return to full compliance with its commitments under the JCPOA", the statement said.

The joint statement urged "Iran to consider the consequences of such grave action, particularly at this time of renewed diplomatic opportunity".

In a major breach of the deal, the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) confirmed last week that Iran has begun producing uranium metal, a material that can be used in an atomic bomb.

"Iran should reverse these steps and refrain from taking others that would impact the IAEA assurances, on which... the entire world relies", US Department of State spokesperson Ned Price said.

On Thursday, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian will host his German and British counterparts in Paris, with America's new top diplomat Antony Blinken joining via videoconference, the French foreign ministry said.

FILE - This photo released November 5, 2019 by the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran shows centrifuge machines at the Natanz uranium enrichment facility in central Iran.

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), signed in Vienna in 2015, was based on Iran accepting safeguards created to prevent it developing an atomic bomb, in exchange for a gradual easing of global sanctions.

The IAEA reported on February 1 that Iran had brought a second cascade, or cluster, of IR-2m machines online at Natanz, and was installing two more. The 2015 deal says Iran can only enrich with far less efficient, first-generation IR-1 centrifuges.

Last month, Iran said scientists at its Fordow nuclear plant were enriching uranium at 20% purity in breach of the JCPOA's 3.67% limit, bringing Iran closer to possessing weapons-grade fuel.

Tehran has been using its violations of the nuclear deal to increase pressure on the JCPOA's remaining signatories, France, Germany, Britain, Russia and China, to provide additional incentives to Iran to offset the crippling American sanctions re-imposed after the USA pulled out of the agreement in 2018.

Iran has ruled out negotiating over its ballistic missile programme or regional policies with Washington, arguing it was the USA which militarised the region with weapon sales to Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

Grossi, who heads the UN-backed nuclear watchdog group, seeks to foster an agreement allowing the continuation of the agency's inspections and verification activities in the country, the organization said Wednesday. "They are playing with fire", he says.

He said Iran would cease to adhere to the so-called Additional Protocol, an arrangement that provides the IAEA broad access and information regarding Iran's nuclear program, including both declared and undeclared facilities. In a report to Member States, Director General Grossi said Iran informed the IAEA on 15 February that the country will stop implementing voluntary transparency measures under the JCPoA as of 23 February, including the Additional Protocol.