USA TODAY International Edition

Iran to start lim­it­ing mon­i­tor­ing of nuke sites

En­voy: Sanc­tions must end be­fore pact re­vived

- Kim Hjelm­gaard and Deirdre Sh­es­green Military · U.S. News · Middle East News · Politics · Diplomacy · Warfare and Conflicts · World Politics · Iran · United States of America · Donald Trump · Tehran · Joe Biden · Joe · English · Beijing · France · Germany · Russia · United Kingdom · Washington · Philadelphia Union · International Atomic Energy Agency · United Nations · Mohammad Javad Zarif · Sullivan

Iran’s top diplo­mat in­sisted Sun­day the United States must lift eco­nomic sanc­tions im­posed on it by the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion be­fore the 2015 nu­clear pact can be re­vived.

For­eign Min­is­ter Mo­ham­mad Javad Zarif ’s re­marks came as Tehran confirmed it would be­gin lim­it­ing ad­di­tional in­ter­na­tional mon­i­tor­ing of its nu­clear sites Tues­day, a move that for Iran rep­re­sents an­other lean away from the ac­cord ex­ited by the U. S. in 2018.

Zarif ’s com­ments also fol­low an of­fer from Pres­i­dent Joe Bi­den’s ad­min­is­tra­tion to meet with Iran and other world pow­ers in­volved in ne­go­ti­at­ing the agree­ment.

“The United States must re­turn to the deal and lift all sanc­tions. ... The United States is ad­dicted to sanc­tions, but they should know that Iran will not yield to pres­sure,” Zarif said in an in­ter­view with Iran’s state- run, English- lan­guage broad­caster Press TV.

Zarif did not confirm Iran was re­ject­ing Bi­den’s offer of diplo­macy.

The nu­clear deal, known as the JCPOA, was ne­go­ti­ated by the U. S. with Iran, China, France, Ger­many, Rus­sia and the United King­dom.

His week­end re­marks reflect the po­si­tion Iran has held since the U. S. pulled out of the nu­clear deal. Iran has said it will re­sume ne­go­ti­a­tions with the U. S. only when the sanc­tions are lifted be­cause Wash­ing­ton, not Tehran, ex­ited the ac­cord.

The U. S. has been un­will­ing to take that first step, although the Bi­den ad­min­is­tra­tion’s offer Thurs­day to hold talks was its first pub­lic at­tempt at re­newed diplo­macy. Bi­den’s Na­tional Se­cu­rity Ad­viser Jake Sul­li­van said in a CBS in­ter­view Sun­day that the U. S. has “be­gun to com­mu­ni­cate” with Iran re­gard­ing de­tained U. S. na­tion­als.

Zarif said In­ter­na­tional Atomic En­ergy Agency ( IAEA) sur­veil­lance cam­eras at some of Iran’s nu­clear sites would be shut off Tues­day, in line with a law passed by Iran’s Par­lia­ment. These cam­eras were in­stalled as part of an “ad­di­tional pro­to­col” of the nu­clear deal. Also, some nu­clear in­spec­tors will be barred from the sites.

The pro­to­col is a vol­un­tary agree­ment be­tween Tehran and the IAEA reached as part of the nu­clear agree­ment. Un­der the mea­sure, the agency “col­lects and an­a­lyzes hun­dreds of thou­sands of images cap­tured daily by its so­phis­ti­cated sur­veil­lance cam­eras,” it said in 2017, adding that it had placed “2,000 tam­per­proof seals on nu­clear ma­te­rial and equip­ment.”

Iran’s par­lia­ment in De­cem­ber ap­proved a bill that would sus­pend part of IAEA in­spec­tions of its nu­clear fa­cil­i­ties if Euro­pean sig­na­to­ries did not pro­vide re­lief from oil and bank­ing sanc­tions by Tues­day. The IAEA is the United Na­tions’ nu­clear watch­dog.

IAEA head Rafael Grossi is in Iran to dis­cuss how to find “a mu­tu­ally agree­able so­lu­tion for the IAEA to con­tinue es­sen­tial ver­ification ac­tiv­i­ties in the coun­try.”

Former Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump with­drew the U. S. from the nu­clear deal. But Bi­den and his sec­re­tary of State, Antony Blinken, have re­peat­edly said the U. S. would re­join the agree­ment – and lift the sanc­tions im­posed by the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion – only if Iran first came back into com­pli­ance.

In the Press TV in­ter­view, Zarif said the new ac­cess re­stric­tions placed on the nu­clear sites, as well as pre­vi­ous steps Iran has taken to en­rich more ura­nium, were re­versible.

“This is not a dead­line for the world. This is not an ul­ti­ma­tum,” Zarif said.

Mo­ham­mad Fara­hani, ed­i­tor- in- chief of a news agency linked to Iran’s ju­di­ciary, said in an email that the U. S. sanc­tions that have tar­geted Iran’s oil and bank­ing sec­tors have hin­dered ac­cess to ba­sic and hu­man­i­tar­ian goods.

“Ira­ni­ans want these cruel sanc­tions lifted,” he said, adding that he saw no path to new diplo­macy be­fore the sanc­tions were ad­dressed.

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