Friday Prayer leaders in Iran have backed the government’s decision to reduce access to the UN nuclear watchdog, IAEA, in the wake of a critical resolution adopted against Tehran.

The Friday Imams described removing the monitoring equipment installed by the International Atomic Energy Agency as the first step in reducing relations with the agency, with Tehran's Friday prayer Imam Ahmad Khatami condemning the IAEA resolution against Iran and saying that “the revolutionaries hit the bully in the mouth."

Referring to the IAEA director general Rafael Mariano Grossi's visit to Israel, the hardliner cleric called on the authorities "not to provide complete information to the IAEA." 

Similar remarks against the resolution and IAEA’s monitoring of Iranian facilities were made during the Friday prayer sermons in several other cities, including Esfahan, Arak, Bushehr, Ilam, and Ahvaz. 

Iran told the IAEA it plans to remove more monitoring equipment after the 35-member IAEA board Wednesday passed the resolution. Tehran says it intends to maintain a basic level of monitoring and inspectors’ access as required under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

The contents of Friday Prayer sermons delivered by Khamenei's local representatives in various cities are dictated by two state bodies close to Khamenei's office, officially known as "The Policy-making Council for Friday Prayer Imams" and the "Friday Prayer Headquarters," both dominated by hardliner clerics.

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