Iran on Monday said it might extend an agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that gives the watchdog more authority to conduct nuclear inspections if indirect negotiations with the US to revive the JCPOA are on “the right track.”
The agreement was reached in February and is set to expire at the end of this month. It came after Iran stopped voluntarily cooperating with the Additional Protocol, an aspect of the JCPOA that allowed the IAEA to conduct snap inspections. Tehran reached a three-month agreement with the IAEA that gave the watchdog enough access to please other JCPOA participants.
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said the deal might be extended “in case the talks are on the right track,” referring to the negotiations that are ongoing in Vienna. “Since we are in no rush to conclude these talks, in addition to not allowing them to drag on … we do not want any date to prevent our negotiating team from precisely carrying out Tehran’s instructions,” Khatibzadeh said.
Iran was required to stop complying with the Additional Protocol by a law that was passed by Iran’s parliament last December in the wake of the assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the Iranian scientist who was killed in a covert Israeli plot. The bill also required that Iran boost some uranium enrichment to 20 percent.
When the Vienna talks kicked off in April, the Israelis launched another covert attack on Iran’s Natanz nuclear facility. This caused Iran to start enriching some uranium at 60 percent. Israel likes to point to this increased activity as Iran racing towards a bomb when in reality, they are clearly a reaction to Israel’s aggression.
The best way to constrain Iran’s civilian nuclear program is a revival of the JCPOA, something Israel is strongly opposed to. One reason Israel is against the deal is because it has an expiration date. But after the JCPOA, Iran will still be bound by the Non-Proliferation Treaty, a treaty Israel refuses to sign due to its secret nuclear weapons program.
The Vienna talks are making slow progress because President Biden refuses to lift all Trump-era sanctions. Still, Iranian officials have been speaking positively of the negotiations. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Saturday that agreements have been reached on most of the “main sanctions.”