SPONSORED:

US, allies warn Iran against blocking nuclear inspections

US, allies warn Iran against blocking nuclear inspections
© Getty Images

The U.S. and three of its European allies on Thursday warned Iran against blocking inspections by international nuclear experts and against moves by Tehran violating the terms of the 2015 nuclear agreement.

Secretary of State Antony BlinkenAntony BlinkenGreene apologizes for comparing vaccine rules to Holocaust Detainee fates hang over Biden meeting with Putin ICC relations with US undergoing 'reset' with Biden, prosecutor says MORE released the statement along with his counterparts in France, Germany and the U.K. — called the E3 — who are also signatories to the Obama-era deal aimed at preventing Iran from developing a nuclear weapon, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

“The E3 and the United States expressed their shared fundamental security interest in upholding the nuclear non-proliferation regime and ensuring that Iran can never develop a nuclear weapon. In this context, the conclusion of the JCPOA was a key achievement of multilateral diplomacy,” the statement read.

ADVERTISEMENT

President BidenJoe BidenFormer Rep. Rohrabacher says he took part in Jan. 6 march to Capitol but did not storm building Saudis picked up drugs in Cairo used to kill Khashoggi: report Biden looking to build momentum for Putin meeting MORE has stated his intention of returning to the JCPOA, from which former President TrumpDonald TrumpDOJ asks Supreme Court to revive Boston Marathon bomber death sentence, in break with Biden vow Biden looking to build momentum for Putin meeting DOJ tells media execs that reporters were not targets of investigations MORE withdrew in 2018, if Iran returns to compliance with it, in particular reversing steps on uranium enrichment.

But Tehran has called for the U.S. to make the first move by lifting sanctions imposed by the Trump administration as part of its JCPOA withdrawal before Iran takes its own steps to return to compliance with the deal. 

The Islamic Republic is further ratcheting up the pressure on the international community, reportedly telling the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that it is scaling back cooperation with the United Nations nuclear watchdog on inspections of Iran’s nuclear sites, which are required under the JCPOA. 

Iran maintains that its nuclear activities are peaceful. 

“Iran informed the IAEA on 15 February that the country will stop implementing voluntary transparency measures under the JCPOA as of 23 February, including the Additional Protocol,” the IAEA said in a statement, Reuters reported. The “Additional Protocol” is a provision within the JCPOA that allows short-notice inspections at nuclear sites not declared under the JCPOA. 

ADVERTISEMENT

The U.S., in its statement with the E3, called on Iran to back away from the threat. 

“In this context, the E3 and the US called on Iran not to take any additional steps, in particular with respect to the suspension of the Additional Protocol and to any limitations on IAEA verification activities in Iran,” the statement read. 

“The E3 and the United States are united in underlining the dangerous nature of a decision to limit IAEA access, and urge Iran to consider the consequences of such grave action, particularly at this time of renewed diplomatic opportunity.”

The Biden administration is pursuing a rigorous path to diplomacy to bring Iran back to compliance with the nuclear agreement. The president appointed a U.S. special envoy to Iran, Rob Malley, who had served as the lead negotiator on the JCPOA during the Obama administration.

The president has also emphasized a return to multilateralism and coordinating with allies.

Blinken’s conversation with E3 countries, which was held virtually, was the second such meeting on shared priorities of the transatlantic relationship. The four foreign policy chiefs also discussed shared priorities on security, climate, economic, health and upholding human rights, according to a readout of the meeting.