Iran will scale back nuclear commitments if 2015 obligations not revived

US President Joe Biden's administration is weighing a wide array of ideas on how to revive the Iranian nuclear deal between Tehran and six world powers.

PEOPLE GATHER around the water nuclear reactor at Arak, Iran, in December 2019. (photo credit: WANA NEWS AGENCY/REUTERS)
PEOPLE GATHER around the water nuclear reactor at Arak, Iran, in December 2019.
(photo credit: WANA NEWS AGENCY/REUTERS)
Iran said on Monday it will block snap inspections by the UN nuclear watchdog this month if other parties to the 2015 nuclear deal fail to fulfill their obligations, a challenge to US President Joe Biden's hope of reviving the accord.
"If others do not fulfill their obligations by Feb. 21, the government is obliged to suspend the voluntary implementation of the Additional Protocol," Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said.
"It does not mean ending all inspections by the UN nuclear watchdog ... All these steps are reversible if the other party changes its path and honors its obligations."
The Biden administration aims to return the United States to the nuclear deal, which then-President Donald Trump abandoned in 2018. Under the deal, Iran agreed to curbs on its nuclear program in return for the lifting of sanctions.
After Trump quit and reimposed sanctions, Iran began violating some limits in the deal. Washington and Tehran now disagree over how best to restore the accord, with both sides demanding the other side act first to return to compliance.
The nuclear deal granted wide-ranging access to the International Atomic Energy Agency to gather information on Iran’s nuclear activities. But under a law enacted last year, Iran's government is obliged to revoke that access on Feb. 21 if other parties are not complying with the nuclear deal.
Iran has long denied seeking nuclear weapons.
Iran’s intelligence minister said last week that persistent Western pressure could push Tehran to fight back like a “cornered cat” and seek nuclear weapons. But Khatibzadeh rejected this, citing a religious decree issued in the early 2000s by the Islamic Republic’s top authority, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, banning nuclear arms.
"Iran has not sought and will never seek nuclear weapons ... The Supreme leader's fatwa is valid," said Khatibzadeh.