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The IAEA will not be able to monitor Iran's nuclear activity after the end of a three-month arrangement. The development comes as world powers continue to make attempts at restoring the 2015 nuclear deal.
A three-month monitoring deal between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has now expired, Tehran's parliament speaker said on Sunday.
The expiration of the arrangement means the UN watchdog will no longer have access to Iran's nuclear data held at atomic sites across the country.
"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," Mohammad Baqher Qalibaf said on state TV.
Qalibaf's comments further underscored the narrowing window for the United States and others to resuscitate a nuclear accord with Tehran. The Islamic Republic is already enriching and stockpiling uranium at levels far beyond those permitted in the 2015 deal (JCPOA).
In December, Iran's parliament passed a bill that would suspend part of UN inspections of its nuclear facilities if European signatories did not provide sanctions relief on its oil and banking sectors by February.
The IAEA subsequently sealed a three-month arrangement with Iran so it could access information and images, with Tehran threatening to delete them afterward if no deal had been reached.
As part of the arrangement, the IAEA could gather and analyze "hundreds of thousands of images captured daily by its sophisticated surveillance cameras."
Qalibaf said Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has final say on all matters of state, backed the decision to block UN access.
The IAEA said earlier this week it was in talks with Tehran on how to proceed with the monitoring deal but those discussions have yet to yield a solid outcome.
jsi/aw (Reuters, AP)