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Iran's Bushehr nuclear power plant. Photo: Atta Kenare/AFP via Getty Images

Iran's parliament speaker said that a three-month monitoring agreement with the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency has expired, so inspectors can no longer access images of nuclear sites, state media reported Sunday.

Why it matters: The remarks by Mohammad Bagher Qalibaf underline the "narrowing window for the U.S. and others" to strike a deal with Iran, which has been enriching uranium at levels much higher than the 3.7% agreed to in the 2015 accord, AP notes.

  • If the monitoring agreement ends, Iranian officials could erase all recordings of the country's nuclear activity, effectively leaving inspectors unable to scrutinize work at the sites, per the Guardian.

Driving the news: The IAEA and Iran reached an agreement in February that allowed UN inspectors to continue necessary verification and monitoring of the country's nuclear facilities for up to three months.

  • "Based on the expiration of the three-month deadline, definitely the International Atomic Energy Agency will not have the right to access images from May 22," Qalibaf said.

The big picture: Iran stepped up its enrichment efforts by building centrifuges and enriching nuclear materials to levels that violated the deal after former President Trump withdrew the U.S. from the international agreement in 2018.

What to watch: IAEA head Rafael Grossi, who's been in talks with Iranian officials to extend the monitoring deal, was due to hold a news conference later Sunday, Reuters reports.

Go deeper: U.S. and Iran remain far apart as nuclear talks reach critical stage

Go deeper

Aug 29, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Former Israel ambassador joins U.S. Iran team

Dan Shapiro. Photo: Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Former U.S. ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro has joined the State Department's Iran team as a senior adviser, a senior State Department official tells Axios.

Why it matters: Israel is pressing the Biden administration to start discussing a “Plan B” in case diplomacy with Iran fails. Shapiro, who has a personal relationship with many Israeli officials, including Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, is equipped to play a key role in any such talks. His portfolio will be the regional aspects of the Iranian issue and coordination with Israel.

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
13 mins ago - Science

A new NASA astronaut corps for the next era in space

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

NASA's next crewed missions to the Moon will need a larger, differently-trained and multi-skilled astronaut corps to deliver on the agency's ambitions.

Why it matters: NASA has plans to fly astronauts to the surface of the Moon in 2025 and ultimately establish a long-term presence there. That goal requires a robust corps with new, specialized training in what it takes to live and work on the Moon — and NASA needs to start planning now.

China builds its own movie empire

Expand chart
Data: Gower Street citing Comscore; Chart: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

China blocked all four of Disney's Marvel movies from being released in its theaters last year, a grim sign for U.S. film giants being squeezed out of the world's fastest-growing box office.

Why it matters: The Chinese Communist Party is using domestic films as a key conduit for mass messaging aimed at achieving political goals, leaving little room for foreign views.