TEHRAN (Press TV) -- The head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) says recordings from monitoring equipment that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) installed at the country’s nuclear sites will be deleted if the United States does not lift its unilateral sanctions within the next three months.
Ali-Akbar Salehi said, "Now, the IAEA does not have the right to access surveillance cameras for up to 3 months, and if the sanctions are not lifted, the information recorded by the cameras will be deleted and cameras will be uninstalled. The agency issues a report every three months, so we gave it a chance.”
Salehi made the remarks on Friday, four days after Iran stopped the voluntary implementation of the Additional Protocol to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Safeguards Treaty, which stipulates enhanced international access to nuclear sites and snap inspections by the IAEA.
The halt came under the Strategic Action Plan to Counter Sanctions, a law passed last December by the Iranian parliament, and adds to Iran’s previous steps away from the 2015 nuclear deal in response to the U.S.’s unilateral withdrawal in 2018 and the other parties’ failure to fulfill their commitments.
Last week, the IAEA and the AEOI reached a temporary bilateral technical understanding, under which the latter would continue to use cameras to record information at its nuclear sites for three months, but it would retain the information exclusively. If the U.S. sanctions are lifted completely within that period, Iran will provide the footage information to the UN nuclear agency, otherwise it will be deleted forever.
Salehi also noted that the Iranian Parliament had consulted the AEOI regarding the anti-sanctions legislation.
In another development on Saturday, the AEOI deputy chief provided information about the construction operation at the 1,000-megawatt Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant.
Mahmoud Jafari said in an interview with Fars news agency that a contract had been signed between two Iranian firms and Russia’s Atomstroyexport company to build two 1,057-megawatt nuclear units at the site of the Bushehr facility.
"The construction work of Busher 2 and 3 units began in January 2017 and Iranian companies have completed land and sea engineering studies as the first step,” he added.
The European Union’s top foreign policy official on Friday called for a concerted effort to use what he has referred to as a "diplomatic window of opportunity” in order to revive a 2015 nuclear agreement signed between Iran and major world powers.
"This is an occasion that we cannot miss,” to reinvigorate the nuclear accord, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell told reporters via a videoconference.
The future of the JCPOA has been in doubt since May 2018, when the U.S. under ex-president Donald Trump pulled out of the agreement and imposed the "toughest ever” sanctions on Iran as part of his so-called "maximum pressure,” which tried in vain to force Iran back to the negotiating table for talks on a "better deal.”
Despite throwing verbal support behind the JCPOA, the European parties to the deal — France, Britain and Germany — ultimately succumbed to Washington’s pressure and failed to fulfill their contractual commitments to Tehran, mainly by confronting the American sanctions.
That promoted Tehran to begin a set of retaliatory measures in several stages as part of its legal rights stipulated in Articles 26 and 36 of the JCPOA. The latest such measure was the halt in the implementation of the Additional Protocol, which was required by the parliament-adopted law.
"I am convinced as coordinator of the JCPOA that we do have diplomatic space, a diplomatic window of opportunity to dialogue,” Borrell said.
The top EU diplomat added, "We need to use this opportunity and focus on solutions to bring the JCPOA back on track in order for everybody (to fulfill) their commitments.”
Joe Biden, the current president of the United States, has repeatedly spoken of a willingness to rejoin the Iran deal, but in practice, he has so far been sticking with Trump’s futile pressure campaign.
Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei said on February 17 that Iran will not accept mere verbal promises in the case of the nuclear agreement this time around and needs to see action on the part of the co-signatories, given the many instances of counterparty non-compliance the country has faced.
"Concerning the JCPOA, I should just say one word. We have heard many nice words and promises that have been violated and have not been fulfilled in action,” Ayatollah Khamenei said. "But this time around, we accept only actions.”