On The Eve Of Iran Nuclear Talks, UN Agency Says “No Progress.”
Just days before discussions on restoring the 2015 Iran nuclear deal resume, the UN nuclear watchdog said there had been “no advance” in talks with Tehran over disputes about monitoring Iran’s atomic program.
The International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) director general, Rafael Grossi, told a quarterly meeting of the agency’s board that talks he held in Tehran on Tuesday were “inconclusive” despite being “constructive.”
Grossi had hoped to address restrictions imposed on IAEA inspections earlier this year, as well as unanswered questions about the presence of undeclared nuclear material at Iranian locations and the treatment of IAEA workers in Iran.
“We were unable to make progress on the substance,” Grossi told reporters, adding that the lack of consensus had occurred “despite my best efforts.”
The Iranian Atomic Energy Organization’s spokesman, Behrouz Kamalvandi, told Iranian television that his team “tried until the last moment,” but that there is still work to be done.
Grossi visited Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian in Tehran, among other authorities.
On Wednesday, Amir-Abdollahian gave the talks a good spin, saying the official Irna news agency that a “joint declaration” had been made and would be published “as soon as feasible.”
Grossi’s visit came ahead of the beginning on Monday of talks between Tehran and international powers aimed at restoring the 2015 deal that lifted sanctions in exchange for restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program.
The US expressed disappointment with the outcome of Grossi’s visit and stated that it was prepared to discuss in Vienna.
“Of course, Iran’s refusal to cooperate is a terrible indicator for their commitment in bringing our negotiations to a successful finish,” a State Department spokesperson said.
The remaining members of the agreement, including France, Germany, the United Kingdom, China, Russia, and Iran, will attend, with the United States participating indirectly.
Since former US President Donald Trump abruptly withdrew from the agreement in 2018, the pact has been rapidly dissolving.
Iran retaliated the following year by beginning to break its commitments under the accord, generally known as the JCPOA.
Rob Malley, the US negotiator for the JCPOA discussions, has warned that if Iran delays progress at the talks, Washington will not “sit passively.”
“We’ll have to respond proportionately if (Iran) continues to do what it looks to be doing now, which is to drag its feet at the nuclear diplomatic table and increase its pace when it comes to its nuclear program,” Malley told US.