Last Inspection Mechanism Over Iranian Nuclear Sites Expires, Extended
Iran’s three-month interim agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency expired Monday morning, despite last-minute efforts by both sides to reach an extension. The deal, which allowed IAEA inspectors to monitor Iranian nuclear facilities via video cameras, was struck in February after Tehran’s hard-line parliament managed to pass laws reducing the Islamic Republic’s cooperation with the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog. A press conference scheduled for Sunday evening by IAEA chief Rafael Grossi, in which a one-month extension of the monitoring arrangement was expected to be announced, was postponed to later Monday after no agreements were reached. On Monday afternoon, Grossi announced that the agreement had been extended for one month. Failure to secure some supervision over Iran’s atomic activity could threaten the ongoing indirect negotiations in Vienna between Tehran and Washington, which have been reported as swiftly advancing toward a renewed nuclear deal. While the United States has demanded Iran roll back its violations of the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action before any American sanctions are lifted, Tehran insists all sanctions placed by former President Donald Trump after withdrawing from the pact in 2018 be removed first.