IAEA chief arrives in Iran for talks before confrontation with West

International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Grossi attends a news conference in Vienna
International Atomic Energy Agency director general Grossi attends a news conference in Vienna
FILE PHOTO: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director-General Rafael Grossi attends a news conference during the Board of Governors meeting at IAEA Headquarters in Vienna, Austria June 7, 2021. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

September 12, 2021

DUBAI (Reuters) – United Nations nuclear watchdog chief Rafael Grossi is set for talks in Iran on Sunday that could ease the standoff between Tehran and the West, as it moves forward with talks on reviving the Iran nuclear deal. and threatens to harm.

Grossi arrived in Tehran overnight, Iranian state media said, ahead of a meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s board of governors next week. Iran’s envoy to the IAEA and the agency said he would meet with Mohammad Eslami, the new head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization.

The IAEA said Grossi is expected to hold a news conference at Vienna airport at around 8:30 pm (1830 GMT) after his return on Sunday.

The IAEA informed member states this week that no progress has been made on two central issues: interpreting traces of uranium found at several old, undeclared sites and gaining immediate access to some surveillance equipment so that the agency is responsible for monitoring Iran’s nuclear program. Keep an eye on some parts. As provided by the 2015 deal.

Separate, indirect talks between the United States and Iran on returning to compliance with the agreement have stalled since June. Washington and its European allies are urging the administration of hardline President Ibrahim Raisi, who took office in August, to return to talks.

Under a 2015 agreement between Iran and the major powers, Tehran agreed to ban its nuclear activities in exchange for the lifting of sanctions.

President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of the deal in 2018, re-introducing painful economic sanctions. Iran responded by 2019 by violating several core sanctions of the deal, such as enriching uranium to high purity, close to suitable for use in nuclear weapons.

Western powers will have to decide whether to push for a resolution critical of Iran at a meeting of the agency’s 35-nation board of governors next week and pressure the IAEA to stop. An offer could jeopardize the resumption of negotiations on the deal as Tehran insists on such moves.

The country of the IAEA board of governors will be looking at Grossi’s visit to see whether Iran offers the possibility of responding either by providing access to surveillance equipment or on uranium particles found at undisclosed former sites.

(Reporting by Dubai Newsroom; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan)

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