Grossi criticized the Islamic Republic’s unilateral decision as “disproportionate and unprecedented.” Iran is taking a “step in the wrong direction” and is dealing “an unnecessary blow to an already tense relationship.” The IAEA chief called on the country to reconsider its stance and “correct” its decision.

Iran justified its actions in response to a warning from the United States, Germany, France and Britain at the IAEA Board of Governors meeting in Vienna this week. They had threatened Iran with a new resolution in view of its “deliberate refusal” to cooperate with the IAEA.

In doing so, the four Western states had misused the Board of Governors meeting “for purely political purposes,” said Iranian Foreign Office spokesman Nasser Kanani. He referred to “the need for neutrality” of the IAEA.

The USA, France, Great Britain, Germany as well as Russia and China concluded a nuclear agreement with Iran in 2015. It was intended to prevent Tehran from developing nuclear weapons. In 2018, the USA under its then President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from the agreement. As a result, Iran gradually stopped adhering to its obligations. Negotiations to revive the agreement remained inconclusive.