Iran says it will only allow inspections agreed in 2015 nuclear deal

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Iran will not allow inspections beyond what is in a 2015 nuclear deal, the country’s nuclear chief said on Wednesday, as the United States prepares to respond to a proposal to revive Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers.

“We are committed to inspections in the framework of the nuclear deal that are linked to nuclear restrictions which we have accepted in the past... Not one word more, not one word less,” said Mohammad Eslami, head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, according to a video carried by state media.

A senior US official told Reuters on Monday that Iran has dropped some of its main demands on resurrecting the deal to rein in Tehran's nuclear program, including its insistence that international inspectors close some probes of its atomic program, bringing the possibility of an agreement closer.

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But Eslami appeared to contradict that, saying the probes should be closed “before the implementation day” if the 2015 nuclear deal is revived, the state news agency IRNA reported.

Washington aims to respond soon to a draft agreement proposed by the European Union that would bring back the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran that former President Donald Trump abandoned and current President Joe Biden has sought to revive.

Iran has insisted the nuclear pact can only be salvaged if the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) drops its claims about Tehran’s nuclear work. Washington and other Western powers view Tehran’s demand as outside the scope of reviving the deal.

In June, the UN nuclear watchdog’s 35-nation Board of Governors overwhelmingly passed a resolution, drafted by the United States, France, Britain and Germany, which criticized Iran for failing to explain uranium traces found at three undeclared sites.

On Wednesday, Eslami repeated Iran’s assertion that claims of unexplained uranium traces were perpetrated by exiled Iranian dissidents and Iran's arch-enemy Israel, IRNA reported.

In response to the resolution, Iran expanded further its underground uranium enrichment by installing cascades of more efficient advanced centrifuges and also by removing essentially all the IAEA’s monitoring equipment installed under the 2015 deal.

Meanwhile, Nour News, a website affiliated with Tehran’s top national security body, rejected Washington’s assertion that Iran had dropped some of its main demands.

“The Americans are seeking to suggest that Iran has retreated in the talks but... it was Washington that had left the nuclear deal and it is the US government that has retreated to its previous positions if it returns to the accord,” Nour News said on Twitter.

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