Iran has stopped the voluntary implementation of the Additional Protocol to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and restricted access to the country’s nuclear sites.
Iran’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to International Organizations in Vienna Kazem Gharibabadi was quoted by the national TV as saying that Tehran officially halted the Additional Protocol implementation on Tuesday 00:00 local time (Monday 20:30 GMT) within the framework of a counteractive law approved by the Iranian Parliament in the face of US illegal sanctions and lack of JCPOA parties’ commitment.
“As of midnight tonight (2030 GMT), we will not have… commitments beyond safeguards. Necessary orders have been issued to the nuclear facilities,” Gharibabadi said late on Monday.
Back in December 2020, Iranian legislators passed a law to further accelerate the development of the nuclear program. The law is a firm reaction to Washington’s 2018 withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal – the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) – and the illegal sanctions the US has imposed against Iran since then.
Among other things, the law obliged the Iranian administration to stop allowing inspections beyond the Safeguards Agreement, including the voluntary implementation of the Additional Protocol, if the other parties to the JCPOA failed to deliver on their commitments.
Following the decision, Rafael Grossi, the director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency paid an official day-long visit to Tehran on Sunday and held talks with Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on issues relating to the IAEA’s monitoring of Iran’s nuclear energy program.
Iran and the IAEA then issued a joint statement according to which, the two sides have reached a “temporary bilateral technical understanding.”
According to the statement, Iran said it would stop its voluntary implementation of the Additional Protocol to the NPT and would deny IAEA inspectors access to its nuclear facilities beyond the Safeguards Agreement as of February 23, 2021 for three months.
However, it added, “Iran continues to implement fully and without limitation its Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement with the IAEA as before.”
Iran and the IAEA have also agreed to a temporary bilateral technical understanding, compatible with the Law, whereby the IAEA will continue with its necessary verification and monitoring activities for up to 3 months (as per a technical annex).