Iran says IAEA access to nuclear sites images has ended

The speaker of Iran’s parliament said a three-month monitoring deal between Tehran and the UN nuclear watchdog has expired and that its access to images from inside some Iranian nuclear sites would cease.

The announcement on Sunday raised further questions about the future of indirect talks under way between the United States and Iran on reviving the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

“From May 22 and with the end of the three-month agreement, the (IAEA) agency will have no access to data collected by cameras inside the nuclear facilities agreed under the agreement,” state TV quoted parliament speaker Mohammad Baqer Ghalibaf as saying.

The International Atomic Energy Agency and Tehran struck the three-month monitoring agreement in February to cushion the blow of Iran reducing its cooperation with the agency, and it allowed monitoring of some activities that would otherwise have been axed to continue.

IAEA chief Rafael Grossi is in talks with Iran about extending the agreement.

European diplomats said last week that a failure to agree upon an extension would plunge the wider, indirect talks between Washington and Tehran on reviving the 2015 deal into crisis. Those talks are due to resume in Vienna this week.

The IAEA had planned for Grossi to hold a news conference on Sunday but it said he was still “consulting with Tehran” and that his news conference had been postponed until Monday morning.

An unnamed Iranian official was quoted as saying the agreement between the IAEA and Tehran could be extended “conditionally” for a month.

“If extended for a month and if during this period major powers … accept Iran’s legal demands, then the data will be handed over to the agency. Otherwise, the images will be deleted forever,” according to the member of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council.

Without commenting on the parliament speaker’s earlier announcement, Iran’s president, Hassan Rouhani, said on Sunday that Tehran would continue the talks in Vienna “until reaching a final agreement”.

He also repeated an earlier statement that “Washington has agreed to lift sanctions” on Iran, according to Iranian state media.

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