The three-month monitoring deal between Tehran and the UN nuclear watchdog, which expired on Saturday, is likely to be extended by one month, despite opposition from the Iranian parliament.
A news agency close to Iran’s top security body on Sunday said the May 22 deadline is likely to be extended, apparently keeping in view the ongoing talks in Vienna and the June 18 presidential election in Iran.
“Considering the end of Iran’s three-month deadline to the IAEA, there is a possibility of conditional extension of the previous agreement for one month,” the Nour News Agency quoted an official at the Supreme National Security Council as saying on Sunday.
The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Rafael Grossi, has been in talks with Iranian officials on extending the arrangement, amid ongoing negotiations between Iran and Western powers on reviving the 2015 nuclear deal and paving the way for Iran’s reversal of recent nuclear measures.
Iran’s Foreign Ministry had earlier hinted at the possibility of “conditional extension”, citing progress in Vienna talks.
However, the conservative-dominated parliament has shown resistance, saying the deal’s extension should come only after the US return to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and lifting of sanctions on Iran.
On Sunday, Iran’s Parliament Speaker Baqer Qalibaf said the IAEA “can no longer be able to access images of the Iranian nuclear sites.”
“From May 22 and with the end of the three-month agreement, the agency will have no access to data collected by cameras inside the nuclear facilities agreed under the agreement, and cannot transfer them,” Qalibaf told the parliament.
He said the law passed by the parliament on reducing Iran’s commitments under Iran nuclear deal will be implemented.
Earlier, a total of 200 Iranian lawmakers in a statement said the parliament “resists any damage to the nuclear industry and emphasizes the advancement of the nuclear program”.
Seen as a counter-measure to the US sanctions and Europe’s inaction to salvage the JCPOA, also known as Iran nuclear deal, Iran’s parliament had last year passed a law calling on the government to end implementation of the IAEA’s Additional Protocol, which allows the UN agency to conduct snap inspections.
However, in an attempt to keep the door of negotiations open, Iran and the IAEA in February agreed to keep “necessary” IAEA monitoring activities in place, while reducing cooperation.
In past several weeks, Iran and other signatories to the JCPOA have been engaged in marathon negotiations in the Austrian capital Vienna to revive the 2015 deal.
After the fourth round of talks last week, Iran’s top negotiator Abbas Araghchi expressed the hope for a successful outcome of talks, saying the parties have specified the structure and annexes of the text agreement.
Enrique Moura, an EU official, also acknowledged “good progress” in talks and said an agreement is being worked out.
However, the decision to extend the monitoring deal for one month, observers believe, is likely to create more wedge between the Iranian government and the parliament, weeks before the election.
Source: Anadolu Agency