Iran nuclear chief in Moscow for talks with Rosatom officials

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Mohammad Eslami (C) and deputy chief and spokesman for the organization Behrouz Kamalvandi (L) are received by Iranian Ambassador to Russia Kazem Jalali at the Iranian embassy, Moscow, September 28, 2021. (Photo by Fars news agency)

The head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Mohammad Eslami has traveled to Moscow to discuss issues of mutual interest and further cooperation with Russia's state nuclear corporation Rosatom.

Eslami departed Tehran for the Russian capital at the head of a delegation on Tuesday morning. AEOI deputy chief and spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi is accompanying him during the visit.

Upon arrival in Moscow, they were received by Iranian Ambassador to Moscow Kazem Jalali and other diplomats at the Iranian embassy as well as Russian nuclear officials.

Eslami is due to meet Rosatom Director General Alexey Likhachev and explore avenues for further expansion of cooperation between the two organizations.

On Saturday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov criticized unilateral sanctions imposed on Iran after the US withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear agreement, urging Washington to take a “more active” approach to help resume the stalled talks aimed at reviving the deal.

"It seems evident they should be more active" in "resolving all issues related" to the accord, Lavrov told reporters at the United Nations in New York, referring to the nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

"Iran is not doing anything that would be prohibited," he added.

The top Russian diplomat expressed hope that Iran and the remaining parties to the nuclear agreement – Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China -- would resume  negotiations in the Austrian capital of Vienna "as soon as possible".

The US, under former president Donald Trump, unilaterally withdrew from the deal and imposed the most draconian sanctions ever on the Islamic Republic, although the country had been fully compliant with the deal.

In early April, Iran and the remaining parties to the JCPOA began to hold talks in Vienna after the Joe Biden administration voiced willingness to rejoin the nuclear agreement and remove the sanctions.

Since the beginning of the Vienna talks, Tehran has argued that the US—as the first party that violated the JCPOA—needs to take the first step by returning to full compliance with the agreement. Tehran also says it will resume all its nuclear commitments under the deal only after the US removes all the sanctions in practice.

The US, however, is intent on keeping the core elements of the sanctions as a tool of pressure against the Islamic Republic - a non-starter in the negotiations.

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