Iran on Friday ignored a deadline for the extension of an agreement on the inspection of Iranian nuclear facilities by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
The chief of the IAEA nuclear watchdog, Rafael Mariano Grossi, has been pushing for the extension for weeks, saying the international community must keep an eye on Iran’s nuclear projects as powers work with Iran to revive a 2015 nuclear deal.
Tehran had previously indicated that it would only decide on the extension after the existing agreement has expired. Last time, it was not extended again until 24 hours after the agreement expired. The Iranian government may now be using the agreement’s expiration in negotiations on the international nuclear deal that Iran needs to untangle its stalled economy.
Iran has threatened to cancel the inspections altogether. Under the agreement, the IAEA will place equipment in nuclear facilities to monitor activities there. According to some observers, the collected information could now be removed by the Iranians, as the agreement is not currently in effect.
The IAEA called on Tehran to respond “immediately” on Friday afternoon. Grossi stressed in a statement the great importance of collecting data on Iran’s nuclear energy activities.