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Iran stops sharing images with IAEA

Alex Berry
June 27, 2021

The announcement by Tehran effectively ends the international monitoring of Iran's nuclear ambitions, which formed part of the landmark 2015 deal with world powers.

Iran's Bushehr nuclear power plant
Iran continues to take a hard line against the US as it demands the lifting of sanctionsImage: TASS/picture alliance

The Iranian parliament said on Sunday that an agreement to share images from certain nuclear sites with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has ended, state-run news agency Tasnim reported.

Iran has been reducing its cooperation with the UN watchdog that formed part of the 2015 deal with world powers to contain Tehran's nuclear ambitions. 

But the two sides had agreed on a three-month deal in February to share some images so as to maintain at least some monitoring of its atomic activities.

Parliamentary speaker Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf told lawmakers that "nothing has been extended after the three-month period and following that, none of the information subject to recording will be given to the IAEA, but will remain at the disposal of the Islamic Republic of Iran."

Iran deal hangs in the balance

The failure to extend the deal comes as Iran holds indirect talks with Western powers about renewing the nuclear deal.

The US unilaterally quit the deal in 2018 under former President Donald Trump.

Current US President Joe Biden's administration has pursued indirect talks about a possible return, but these have been stalled by ongoing disagreements.

The ending of the IAEA image-sharing may prove a further blow to progress, but is also seen as an attempt to pressure Biden to lift devastating sanctions on Tehran.

On Friday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said it would be a "serious concern" for future negotiations if Iran failed to extend the information-sharing agreement.

Iran seeks end to crippling sanctions

The monitoring agreement, first signed in February, was extended on May 24 for another month.

The deal stipulated that Iran would collect data which would then be passed onto the IAEA at a later date.

In May, the nuclear watchdog said it was concerned about several cases of processed uranium particles that had been found at undeclared sites, adding that Iran had produced 2.4 kilograms (5.2 lbs) of almost weapons-grade uranium in a breach of the Iran nuclear deal.