Iran: We will expel the nuclear inspectors if the sanctions are not lifted

Tehran set a deadline of February 21, calling it a "one month opportunity" for the new administration in the White House to reverse the decision of its predecessor 

An inspector installs a camera at one of the Iranian nuclear facilities. Photo: REUTERS/Stringer AP/Ks

Tehran said that it will expel the inspectors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) from the country unless the American sanctions are removed by February 21. Last week Iran announced that it restarted enriching uranium at a level of up to 20% at its underground facility in Fordo, a violation of the nuclear agreement. The announcement followed the passage of a law on the matter that also relates to the stopping of international inspections at its nuclear facilities.   

"According to the law, if the Americans do not lift financial, banking and oil sanctions by Feb. 21, we will definitely expel the IAEA inspectors from the country and will definitely end the voluntary implementation of the Additional Protocol," said parliamentarian Ahmad Amirabadi Farahani in a television interview. "We gave the U.S. a one-month opportunity. The new U.S. administration will take the office on January 21." The comments were made over the weekend when Iran also revealed an underground missile facility on the coast of the Gulf.  

"Once again the Iranian regime is using its nuclear program to extort the international community and threaten regional security," said US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo." This threat follows on the heels of the Iranian regime announcing it has resumed 20% uranium enrichment at Fordow, the fortified, underground facility Iran originally constructed in secret, further breaching its nuclear pact. The world’s top sponsor of terrorism should not be allowed to enrich uranium at any level."

Pompeo added that "The United States fully supports the IAEA’s continued professional and independent verification and monitoring of Iran’s nuclear program. Iran’s expulsion of international inspectors must be met by universal condemnation."