The Iranian parliament approved on Sunday a nuclear rights bill that bans international access to its military sites, as Tehran and world powers continue talks on Iran’s nuclear program for a deal by June 30.
The bill says, “The International Atomic Energy Agency, within the framework of the safeguard agreement, is allowed to carry out conventional inspections of nuclear sites.”
But it adds a caveat, stating that “access to military, security and sensitive non-nuclear sites, as well as documents and scientists, is forbidden”.
The bill, passed with 199 votes in favor, three against and five abstentions, also stipulates immediate removal of all sanctions imposed on Iran as part of any final nuclear accord.
These have been the two main points of contention between Tehran and Washington since the announcement in April that the parties would set a course for a landmark deal.
The U.S. wants to roll out sanctions removal gradually and demands full access to nuclear sites, while Iran pushes for full and immediate lifting of sanctions and seeks to limit access.
Tehran has long insisted that its program is solely for peaceful purposes.
The U.S. along with its P5+1 allies — Britain, China, France and Russia, and plus Germany — have until June 30 to finalize an agreement with Iran on its nuclear program.
Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif is scheduled to meet with counterparts from European members of the P5+1 in Luxembourg on Monday.
Iranian Parliament Speaker, Ali Larijani, emphasized Sunday that the bill should be ratified after consulting with Iran’s Supreme National Security Council.
On Saturday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani urged his country’s lawmakers to “cooperate with the government at the current sensitive juncture to secure success of the talks,” according to Iran’s news agency IRNA.
Rouhani had said last month that “Iran will protect its national security, military and technology secrets in the aftermath of the nuclear deal.”
Supreme Leader of Iran Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on May 20 that his country will not allow any inspectors to its military sites or permit interviews with its nuclear scientists.
Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif repeated his country’s stance on May 22, saying Iran will not give access to its Fordow nuclear facility and its nuclear sites, defining them as “red lines”