Iran will expel UN nuclear inspectors unless sanctions are lifted

File photo of Russian-built Bushehr nuclear power plant in southern Iran. — AFP pic
File photo of Russian-built Bushehr nuclear power plant in southern Iran. — AFP pic

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DUBAI, Jan 9 — Iran will expel United Nations nuclear watchdog inspectors unless sanctions are lifted by a February 21 deadline set by the hardline-dominated parliament, a lawmaker said today.

Parliament passed a law in November that obliges the government to halt inspections of its nuclear sites by the International Atomic Energy Agency and to step up uranium enrichment beyond the limit set under Tehran’s 2015 nuclear deal if sanctions are not eased.

Iran’s Guardian Council watchdog body approved the law on December 2 and the government has said it will implement it.

“According to the law, if the Americans do not lift financial, banking and oil sanctions by February 21, we will definitely expel the IAEA inspectors from the country and will definitely end the voluntary implementation of the Additional Protocol,” said parliamentarian Ahmad Amirabadi Farahani.

The comments, referring to texts governing the IAEA’s mission and activities, were carried by several Iranian media outlets.

Iran said on Monday it had resumed 20% uranium enrichment at an underground nuclear facility, breaching the nuclear pact with major powers and possibly complicating efforts by US President-elect Joe Biden to rejoin the deal.

It began violating the accord in 2019 in response to US President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from it in 2018 and the reimposition of US sanctions lifted under the deal.

Tehran often says it can quickly reverse its breaches if Washington’s sanctions are removed. — Reuters

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