US State Secretary Mike Pompeo has called for denouncing on a global level Iran's recent pledge to expel inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
He signalled Washington’s “full” support for the IAEA’s “continued professional and independent verification and monitoring of Iran’s nuclear programme”, insisting that Tehran’s possible expulsion of “international inspectors must be met by universal condemnation”.
“Once again the Iranian regime is using its nuclear programme to extort the international community and threaten regional security”, the US secretary of state argued, berating the Islamic Republic for pursuing a policy of what he described as “nuclear brinksmanship”.
The remarks followed Iranian MP Ahmad Amirabadi stating on Saturday that “if the Americans do not lift financial, banking, and oil sanctions [against Tehran] by 21 February”, it “will definitely expel the IAEA inspectors from the country and will definitely end the voluntary implementation of the Additional Protocol".
The statement came after Tehran boosted its nuclear programme, producing 20 percent enriched uranium at the Fordow facility, surpassing the 3.67 percent limit imposed by the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
The JCPOA was clinched six years ago between the Islamic Republic, China, France, Germany, Russia, the UK, the US, Germany, and the EU.
In May 2018, President Donald Trump announced the US’ unilateral withdrawal from the JCPOA, also reinstating crippling economic sanctions against Tehran, something that prompted Iran to start scaling down its JCPOA obligations exactly a year later.
In November 2020, the Islamic Republic passed a law to increase its uranium enrichment and stop UN inspections of its nuclear sites in response to the killing of Iranian nuclear physicist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh earlier that month. At the same time, Iran underscored that it would comply with the 2015 nuclear deal if the US sanctions are lifted.