IAEA inspectors will not be expelled from Iran: Rouhani

February 17, 2021 - 21:17

TEHRAN - President Hassan Rouhani said on Wednesday that Tehran’s decision to suspend a voluntary implementation of the Additional Protocol of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) would not mean that Iran intends to expel the UN nuclear agency’s inspectors.

Speaking during a cabinet meeting, Rouhani said, “What is to happen is that Iran will stop implementing the Additional Protocol as of February 23, but no (IAEA) inspector is going to be expelled from Iran.” 

The Additional Protocol allows an intrusive inspection of the Iranian nuclear facilities. However, the Iranian Parliament adopted a law in December obliging the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) to install advanced centrifuges, increase the level of nuclear enrichment to 20 percent and halt the Additional Protocol if the illegal sanctions against Iran are not lifted.

Based on the law, the AEOI has already installed advanced centrifuge machines, increased uranium to 20 percent. The date to suspend the Additional Protocol falls on Feb. 23.  

Iran has insisted all these steps are reversible if the parties to the 2015 nuclear deal – JCPOA- honor their commitments. 
 
Rouhani said limiting access to nuclear sites does not mean that Iran is seeking to produce nuclear arms.
 
“It might be interpreted as a sign of plans to obtain nukes, but this is totally incorrect,” Rouhani noted, according to Tasnim news agency.

“Weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons, have no place in Iran’s defense strategy and Islamic Republic rules out any plan to hold nukes,” the Iranian president added. 

Pointing to the religious decree issued by Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on prohibition of nuclear arms, he emphasized, “We do not seek secret nuclear activities, not yesterday, not today and not tomorrow. This is our definite decision, whether or not the U.S., Europe and the United Nations want it.” 

Elsewhere in his remarks, Rouhani said, “The world must know that the JCPOA is unchangeable. America has no path but rejoining the JCPOA.” 

The Foreign Ministry spokesman said on Monday that Iran will remain a party to the NPT Safeguards Agreement, although the government will be obliged to prevent foreign access and monitoring beyond the Additional Protocol.

With the deadline looming, the three EU parties to the JCPOA – France, the UK and Germany- have not taken any practical measure to meet their commitments. However, they are urging Tehran to remain committed to the agreement.

The new U.S. administration has also refused to lift the anti-Iran sanctions imposed by former U.S. president Donald Trump and has set conditions for a return to the nuclear deal. 

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