For days, the government under President Hassan Ruhani has been threatening further violations of the nuclear agreement. Now one thing is certain: Iran will restrict cooperation with the responsible inspectors.
Iran will reduce its cooperation with inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) starting next Tuesday. The supervisory authority based in Vienna announced on Tuesday. Iran had informed the IAEA that it would no longer implement the voluntary transparency measures from the Vienna nuclear agreement from February 23. In addition, Tehran has informed the IAEA that it will no longer adhere to the so-called additional protocol, which allows IAEA inspectors to visit at short notice.
On Monday, Tehran had already threatened the UN atomic authority with significant restrictions on inspections if there was no breakthrough in the nuclear dispute with the US by the end of the month. “Director General Grossi has offered to travel to Iran to find a mutually acceptable solution so that the agency can continue its important verification work,” the IAEA statement said on Tuesday.
Germany warned of blockades
Germany warned Iran against blocking the international inspections envisaged under the nuclear deal. “It would be completely unacceptable if Iran were to obstruct the IAEA inspections,” a German diplomat told Reuters on Tuesday. “We call on Iran to refrain from this step.” The federal government is in close contact with partner states, including the USA, on the issue. Iran must participate in a de-escalation in order to give diplomacy a chance.
The unlimited access of the inspectors to the Iranian nuclear facilities on the basis of the IAEA additional protocol is part of the Vienna nuclear agreement of 2015, which should prevent Iran from building an atomic bomb. Without this access, nothing would de facto remain of the agreement. After the US withdrew from the agreement, Iran has also been gradually ignoring all of the technical templates in the deal since May 2019. Among other things, the country has started with a higher uranium enrichment and the production of uranium metal, is now working with faster centrifuges and is storing far more uranium than allowed in the nuclear deal.
Ruhani hopes to change course under Biden
Former US President Donald Trump resigned from the international nuclear treaty in May 2018. With tough sanctions and a policy of maximum pressure, he wanted to persuade the leadership in Tehran to negotiate an agreement with stronger and longer-term conditions. The sanctions in particular led to the worst economic crisis in Iran’s history.
Iranian President Hassan Ruhani continues to hope that the US will change course under President Joe Biden in order to save both the nuclear deal and the country from an economic collapse. According to Ruhani, however, the USA – and not Iran – must take the first step and return to the negotiating table.