Tue. Dec 7th, 2021

The head of the UN nuclear agency and the official from Tehran agree to continue talking, but did not provide details on outstanding issues.

Tehran, Iran – Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) have agreed to maintain communication and dialogue after the watchdog’s director general visited Tehran days before talks to restore Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal in Vienna.

Rafael Grossi landed in the Iranian capital late Monday and met the country’s nuclear chief, Mohammad Eslami, early on Tuesday. The two then said during a joint news conference that they had agreed to continue talks.

Grossi, on his third visit since February, said the two parties would keep the talks going with the aim of finding “common ground” and achieving positive results.

Eslami said Iran and the IAEA agreed that no “deviation” had been observed in the country’s nuclear program, which he said was being carried out within the framework of agreements on security measures.

Iran has been making steady progress with its nuclear program since the United States unilaterally abandoned the 2018 nuclear deal and imposed sanctions. The country now enriches uranium to 60 percent and uses advanced centrifuges, but maintains that its nuclear targets are strictly peaceful.

The Iranian nuclear chief also said on Tuesday that Grossi had questions about “some cases published by our enemies as evidence at the agency”, which he said he answered without elaborating further. He added some issues are outstanding, and some are related to the past and are no longer ongoing.

“We have agreed today to put an end to these cases and through practices that we will adopt – negotiations that are still ongoing – it will not continue,” Eslami said.

Iran and the agency have gone back and forth on the issue of unexplained particles found at several nuclear sites dating back years.

Most recently, the two were also at odds over the issue of access to a centrifuge parts production site in Karaj, which was hit in June by a sabotage attack that blamed Iran on Israel. The agency did not have monitoring access to the site, as Iran says its security and judicial investigations of the site are ongoing, and several agency cameras were damaged during the attack.

Grossi’s visit comes a day before the meeting of the IAEA’s council of governors begins, where any censorship action against Iran is unlikely for fear that it will damage the forthcoming talks in Vienna.

Iran and the signatories of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), as the nuclear deal is formally known, will meet again in the Austrian capital on November 29 to resume six rounds of talks suspended in June to allow President Ebrahim Raisi to form. his new administration.

The IAEA chief will not meet with Raisi, but he will have his first meeting with Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian later on Tuesday.

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