The head of the UN atomic watchdog says he has found no sign of Iran’s lack of seriousness in the talks with the P4+1 group of countries to revive the multilateral 2015 deal, only days after Washington said Tehran needs to demonstrate its seriousness.
“I have no indications that Iran is not serious about negotiations regarding its nuclear file,” Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Rafael Grossi said in Tokyo, Japan, on Friday, the Qatari Al Jazeera television news network tweeted.
Addressing a press conference, the IAEA chief, however, said he still awaits convincing responses from Iran about certain nuclear activities.
The remarks come three days after US State Department spokesman Ned Price said “We believe it is now up to Iran to demonstrate its seriousness.”
Tehran, for its part, has blamed Washington for its indecisiveness during the course of the talks, arguing that it is up to the United States, as the violator of the Iran deal, to return to full compliance with the pact.
Several rounds of negotiations between Iran and the P4+1 group of countries – Britain, France, Germany, China and Russia – have been held in the Austrian capital since April 2021 to bring Washington back into the deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). The Vienna talks, however, exclude American diplomats due to their country’s withdrawal.
Talks have been on hold since March as Washington insists on its refusal to undo its past wrongs through measures such as removing the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) from its foreign terrorist organization list.
Iran maintains that the IRGC’s designation in 2019 was part of former President Donald Trump administration’s so-called maximum pressure campaign against Iran, and, therefore, it has to be reversed unconditionally.
The Joe Biden administration disagrees, even though it has admitted on countless occasions that Trump’s maximum pressure policy has been a disastrous failure. It has retained the IRGC’s designation and the economic sanctions as leverage in the talks.
Speaking to the EU Parliament on May 17, Grossi said he is not trying to pass an alarmist message that Iran and the remaining parties to the JCPOA are at a dead end but expressed hope that the sides would reach “some agreement” on the JCPOA revival.
“We are, of course, still hopeful that some agreement is going to be reached within a reasonable time frame, although we have to recognize the fact that the window of opportunity could be closed any anytime,” the IAEA chief said.
Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said last week that Tehran and the P4+1 still have the opportunity to reach a “good and reliable” agreement on the JCPOA revival if the United States makes the necessary decision and honors its commitments.
“A good and reliable outcome is within reach if US makes its decision & adheres to its commitments,” the top Iranian diplomat tweeted.