National Security

Iran Threatens to End Cooperation With International Nuclear Inspectors

A general view of a heavy water plant in
The Arak heavy water plant in Iran / Getty Images

Iranian leaders are threatening to sever their country’s cooperation with international nuclear inspectors tasked with ensuring the Islamic Republic does not resume its secretive work on a nuclear weapon.

As the United States and Europe tighten the economic noose on Iran’s economy, Iran has significantly scaled back its commitment to the landmark nuclear accord. In addition to resuming the enrichment of uranium, the key component in a nuclear weapon, Tehran has signaled that it is picking back up its nuclear bomb work.

While the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has sought to perform oversight on Iran’s contested nuclear sites since the deal was reached, it has disclosed in recent months that Iran is blocking access to key sites. Now, Iran is warning that it may end all cooperation with the IAEA in yet another sign of escalating tensions.

Leading European nations last week declared Iran in breach of the 1968 Non-Proliferation Treaty, paving the way for a showdown in the United Nations over the possible reimplementation of numerous sanctions. Iran now says it will revoke IAEA access over what it described as Europe’s "unjust" moves.

"We clearly declare that if Europe shows an unjust behavior in using article 37 of the nuclear deal, for any reason, then the Islamic Republic will make a serious decision over its cooperation with the agency and a relevant bill is standing ready at the parliament," Iranian parliament speaker Ali Larijani said.

Iran is fed-up with efforts by the United States and Europe to hold it accountable for repeated violations of the U.N. accord, according to Larijani.

"Iran does not like threatening," the Iranian official said. "Over a year after the U.S. hostile behavior towards the nuclear issue, Europe has just sufficed to issue political statements and the Islamic Republic of Iran has shown tolerance for a long time."

Iran also is prepared to continue scaling back its nuclear commitments, a scenario that could put Tehran closer to a nuclear weapon than ever before.

Already, Iran has begun to stockpile heavy water, a nuclear byproduct that could provide it with a plutonium-based pathway to a bomb. This has coincided with Iran’s decision to begin enriching uranium to levels needed for weapons research.

"The fifth step was the last step in reducing our undertakings and Iran is planning for a final and more effective move if such words [by the Europeans] continue, and if the present trend continues, Iran will take the effective step," Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Seyed Abbas Mousavi said over the weekend.

The State Department did not immediately respond to a Washington Free Beacon request for comment on the matter.