21:30 GMT02 March 2021
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    Iran earlier announced its intention to end the implementation of the Additional Protocol that greenlighted the UN nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), to carry out snap inspections at the country's nuclear facilities.

    On Monday at 20:30 GMT, Iran's restrictions on IAEA snap inspections at nuclear facilities came into force, in line with a law passed by the country's parliament in late 2020.

    Earlier during the weekend, IAEA head Rafael Grossi visited Tehran to agree on site inspections, with meeting results praised as a "significant achievement". The UN nuclear watchdog and Iran settled on a temporary technical deal for up to three months.

    After the meeting with Grossi, it was agreed that Tehran would restrict IAEA's access to footage from surveillance cameras installed at some nuclear sites. If sanctions are not lifted in three months, the footage will be deleted.

    The move, however, does not restrict inspections under the comprehensive Safeguards Agreement (CSA).

    Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif looks on during a meeting with International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Rafael Grossi in Tehran, Iran February 21, 2021.
    © REUTERS / WANA NEWS AGENCY
    Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif looks on during a meeting with International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Rafael Grossi in Tehran, Iran February 21, 2021.

    The intention to end the Additional Protocol implementation was earlier announced by Iranian Permanent Representative to international organizations in Vienna, Kazem Gharib Abadi.

    "Starting from midnight there will be no obligations beyond the scope of the comprehensive Safeguards Agreement with the IAEA. The necessary instructions have been received by [nuclear] facilities," the diplomat said.

    In late 2020, Iran passed a law envisaging a halt in the implementation of the Additional Protocol, with Tehran noting that the move could be reversed if Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) parties comply with the Iranian demands. 

    In particular, Iran insisted that the US scrap its sanctions against the Islamic republic. Washington, however, demands that Tehran first return to its nuclear commitments under the JCPOA, some of which it has stepped away from after the former US president, Donald Trump, unilaterally withdrew the US from the nuclear deal in 2018.

    The Additional Protocol, according to the IAEA, safeguards an agreement that provides "additional tools" for verification of the peaceful use of nuclear materials in states with comprehensive safeguards agreements. Under such protocol, the IAEA receives "broader access" to the government's nuclear programs.

    Related:

    Iran, IAEA Hold 'Fruitful' Talks Amid Looming Embargo on Nuclear Inspections
    IAEA Chief Grossi Holds Press Conference After Meeting Top Iranian Officials
    E3, US Call on Iran to Avoid Any Additional Steps to Suspend Nuclear Protocols, Limit IAEA Access
    Tags:
    Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), IAEA, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), UN, Iran
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