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UN Atomic Chief in Iran for 'wider inspection' of nuclear sites

Yusef Jalali
Press TV, Tehran

Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Rafael Grossi, has visited Iran for talks on ways to enhance the two sides’ cooperation. The visit comes ahead of next week’s Vienna talks between Iran and world powers over ways to revive the 2015 nuclear deal.

On Monday, he held talks with Head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, Mohammad Eslami. The discussion took two hours behind closed doors, before the two officials briefed reporters on the major points of the talks.

Grossi also visited Iranian foreign Minister, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, later in the day to ask the Iranian government to enhance its cooperation with the IAEA. Grossi last visited Tehran in September, when he obtained Iran’s approval for international access to monitoring cameras installed at Iranian nuclear sites.

But the Islamic Republic later curtailed the IAEA’s inspection of its nuclear facilities following a series of what Tehran called politically-motivated comments made by the atomic watchdog against Iran.

The Iranian nuclear chief said Tehran is determined to resume its technical cooperation with the agency on the condition that the IAEA step out of the political atmosphere and stick to its technical task.

Grossi’s visit comes ahead of talks slated for next week in Vienna aimed at reviving the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers. The dialogues have been stalled for more than five months under the new Iranian administration.

The nuclear accord promised sanctions relief for Iran in exchange for the country curtailing its nuclear program.

But in 2018, the United States withdrew from the deal and reinstated sanctions against Tehran under then-President Donald Trump. In response, Tehran has since stepped up activity in its nuclear program, including increasing its stockpile and grade of enriched uranium above the limits set by the deal.

Now the two sides will engage in indirect talks for the seventh round in Vienna on November 29 to seek ways for the US to rejoin the deal in return for Iran to come back to full obligation.

Iran assured the IAEA that it will return to full compliance to the JCPOA, but that requires a political will from the US and Europe to lift the sanctions first; something which seems to be the gist of next week’s discussions in Vienna.



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