Iran announced on Monday that it would cease allowing the International Atomic Energy Agency to conduct snap inspections of the country’s nuclear sites, following a deadline set by the country’s parliament.
Kazem Gharibabadi, Iran’s envoy to the IAEA, made the announcement in a statement quoted by the state-run Tasnim news agency. Iran’s action eliminates the so-called “Additional Protocol,” an agreement with the IAEA made as part of the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action to allow snap nuclear inspections.
IAEA head Rafael Grossi said on Sunday that Iran was preparing to allow “less access” to international nuclear inspectors but that it would let certain inspections to continue for up to three months.
“The hope of the IAEA has been to stabilize a situation which was very unstable,” Grossi told reporters in Vienna.
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei also said on Monday that Iran could accelerate its nuclear program to enrich uranium to 60 percent, close to the 90 percent enrichment needed to produce nuclear weapons. In order to generate nuclear power for electrical grids, uranium may be enriched by less than 4 percent.
“Iran is not after nuclear weapons, but its nuclear enrichment will not be limited to 20% either,” read a statement on Khamenei’s Twitter account. “It will enrich uranium to any extent that is necessary for the country. Iran’s enrichment level may reach 60% to meet the country’s needs.”