Iran refuses to give nuclear site images to UN nuclear watchdog, state media says
Iranian state media stated on Sunday that Tehran will never send over photos from inside some Iranian nuclear installations to the UN nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). According to Iranian state media, the speaker of Iran's parliament stated on Sunday that Tehran would never send over photos from inside specific Iranian nuclear installations to the UN nuclear watchdog since a monitoring arrangement with the organisation has expired. "The agreement has expired," Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf stated. "Any of the information collected will never be transferred to the International Atomic Energy Agency, and the data and photos will stay in Iran's hands." The news might hamper discussions between Iran and six major countries to revive a 2015 nuclear agreement. When then-US President Donald Trump pulled out of the agreement and reimposed crushing sanctions on Iran three years ago, Iran retaliated by breaking several of the deal's nuclear-related constraints. According to the state-run Tehran Times newspaper's website, a spokesperson for parliament's National Security and Foreign Affairs Committee threatened that "if the United States fails to lift all sanctions, Iran would likewise switch off the IAEA cameras." In February, the IAEA and Tehran reached a three-month monitoring deal to soften the shock of Iran's reduced cooperation with the agency, allowing monitoring of some operations that would have been halted otherwise to continue. Data continues to be collected under a black-box-type structure under that agreement, which was extended by a month on May 24, with the IAEA only having access to it at a later date. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) sought an urgent response from Iran on whether it would renew the monitoring agreement on Friday, leading an Iranian ambassador to say that Tehran was not obligated to react. Iran's Supreme National Security Council stated on Wednesday that it will determine whether to extend the monitoring arrangement only after it expires. Any failure by Tehran to renew the monitoring arrangement, according to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, would be a "major worry" for larger discussions. Parties to the nuclear agreement revival negotiations, which began in April in Vienna, have emphasised that key concerns must be overcome before the accord can be revived.