DUBAI (Reuters) – Iran will expel United Nations nuclear watchdog inspectors unless sanctions are lifted by a Feb. 21 deadline set by the hardline-dominated parliament, a lawmaker said on Saturday.
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 Dec. 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 Feb. 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 percent uranium enrichment at an underground nuclear facility, breaching the nuclear pact with major powers and possibly complicating efforts by U.S. 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.
Image:FILE PHOTO: The Iranian flag flutters in front the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) headquarters in Vienna, Austria July 10, 2019. REUTERS/Lisi Niesner