UK, France & Germany urge Iran to reverse ‘dangerous’ decision to suspend agreement on short-notice nuclear inspections

The foreign ministers of Britain, France and Germany have called on Iran to return to a protocol allowing international monitors into its nuclear sites. Tehran suspended the pact as part of its campaign against US sanctions.

The countries, known together as E3, said they “deeply regret” Tehran’s decision to suspend the voluntary Additional Protocol to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. The protocol allows for short-notice inspections of the country’s nuclear sites and for more thorough reporting on nuclear production and research.

The E3 called Iran’s step “dangerous,” saying that it will “significantly constrain” the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in its ability to monitor Iran’s nuclear program.

“We urge Iran to stop and reverse all measures that reduce transparency and to ensure full and timely cooperation with the IAEA,” the statement said.

Iran stopped following the protocol on Tuesday. The action was part of the law aimed at combating US sanctions that was adopted by the Islamic Republic’s parliament in December. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif stressed that all the measures taken under the law are “reversible.”

IAEA chief Rafael Mariano Grossi met with Iranian officials over the weekend. Following the talks, he said that the parties had agreed that the global nuclear watchdog will continue its “necessary verification and monitory activities for a period of up to three months.”

However, Iran’s envoy to the Vienna-based international organizations, Kazem Gharibabadi, was quoted by Iranian Press TV as saying that the foreign inspectors will be given access to the information on the country’s nuclear program only if the sanctions on Iran are “lifted within three months.”

Under a 2015 landmark deal, known as the JCPOA, Iran agreed to severely limit its nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of international sanctions. The accord began to fall apart in 2018, when the US unilaterally abandoned it, accusing Iran of secretly violating the deal and citing general mistrust towards the Islamic Republic. Iran denied these allegations.

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Washington then re-imposed sanctions on Iran and added new ones, including restrictions on the nation’s oil trade and financial sector. Tehran responded by gradually ramping up uranium enrichment.

Iranian officials have repeatedly said they will return to the full compliance with the JCPOA if the US does so first and lifts all of the sanctions.

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