Iran won't accept any demands beyond 2015 nuclear deal

Iran won't accept any additional demands beyond its commitments under the 2015 nuclear deal, the country's top nuclear official declared Tuesday as the chief of the U.N. nuclear watchdog was visiting Iran, the official IRNA news agency reported.

Rafael Grossi, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency arrived in Iran on Monday to press for access to sites where authorities are thought to have stored or used undeclared nuclear material.

The visit comes as the U.S. is pushing to “snapback” U.N. sanctions on Iran for allegedly violating the nuclear deal with world powers, which the Trump administration unilaterally withdrew from two years ago.

Director General of International Atomic Energy Agency, IAEA, Rafael Mariano Grossi, center, listens to spokesman of Iran's atomic agency Behrouz Kamalvandi upon his arrival at Tehran's Imam Khomeini airport, Iran, Monday, Aug. 24, 2020. The man at left is unidentified. Portraits of the late revolutionary founder Ayatollah Khomeini, left, and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei hang on the wall. (Atomic Energy Organization of Iran via AP)

The IAEA repeatedly found Iran in compliance with the agreement until last year, when Tehran started openly exceeding some of the deal’s limits on nuclear enrichment in response to heavy U.S. sanctions.

Ali Akbar Salehi spoke during a joint press conference in Tehran with Grossi.

“Definitely Iran will not accept demands beyond (its) nuclear commitments. We do act based on our own national interests,” Salehi said. The report by IRNA did not elaborate.

Director General of International Atomic Energy Agency, IAEA, Rafael Mariano Grossi, top second right, attends a meeting with head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran Ali Akbar Salehi, bottom left, in Tehran, Iran, Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2020. Others are unidentified. (Atomic Energy Organization of Iran via AP)

In a tweet, Grossi acknowledged his meeting with Salehi on Tuesday. “We are working on reaching an agreement on (IAEA)’s safeguards verification activities in Iran,” Grossi wrote, without elaborating.

However, Salehi also said a “new chapter" has begun between Iran and the IAEA, saying he had “constructive” talks with Grossi. He said both sides are working on a joint statement about their further cooperation.

On Sunday, Iran said the IAEA was seeking access and inspection at two “places” near the capital, Tehran, and the central Iranian city of Isfahan.

Last year the U.N. agency said that of the two sites that Iran has blocked access to, one was partially demolished in 2004. At the other, the agency said it observed activities “consistent with efforts to sanitize” the facility from July 2019 onward.

A third site, the agency said, had undergone “extensive sanitization and leveling” in 2003 and 2004 and there would be no verification value in inspecting it.

Iran has dismissed allegations of nuclear activities at the sites saying it would continue close cooperation within the legal framework” of the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and world major powers.

Washington withdrew from the deal in 2018 and imposed sanction on Tehran.