Tehran, Iran – Iran’s government will have no choice but to limit nuclear inspections starting next week if the other parties to a 2015 nuclear deal do not cooperate with it, according to its foreign ministry.
Foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said President Hassan Rouhani’s government is obliged by law to stop voluntarily implementing the Additional Protocol – which gives the UN’s nuclear watchdog more inspection authority – if US sanctions on Iran’s oil and banking sectors are not lifted by February 21.
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The nuclear deal was signed between Iran and world powers, but former US President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew his country from it in 2018 and reimposed harsh sanctions on Iran. One year later, Iran gradually scaled back its commitments under the deal.
Iran has boosted uranium enrichment to 20 percent and is planning further breaches of its commitments in compliance with December legislation ratified by the conservative parliament.
The bill was passed quickly after top nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was assassinated near Tehran in late November in a sophisticated attack that Iran blames on Israel.
As Khatibzadeh also reiterated on Monday, nuclear inspectors will still have access to Iranian sites as part of the country’s commitments under the Non-Proliferation Treaty.
“All these measures are easily reversible with the condition that other parties return to their commitments,” he said.
Iranian officials have said they will consider sanctions effectively lifted if Iran is able to freely sell its oil and receive its earnings through international banking channels.
But the foreign ministry spokesman said the Joe Biden administration is effectively continuing his predecessor’s hawkish policy on Iran by refusing to lift sanctions until Iran returns to commitments first.
“Unfortunately, the US is still moving based on the wrong approach of the previous administration and what is happening today is no different than before January 20,” Khatibzadeh said, citing the date Trump left office.
“Maximum pressure and crimes against the Iranian people and the disregard for international human rights still persist today.”