IAEA’s Grossi holds second day of talks in Iran on nuclear cooperation

The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Rafael Grossi held talks for a second day in Iran on Saturday aimed at pushing the country to cooperate with a probe into uranium traces found at undeclared sites.

Grossi, who arrived in Tehran on a two-day visit on Friday, met for the second time with the head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, Mohammad Eslami, the official Iranian news agency IRNA reported.

The visit comes amid discussions with Tehran on the origin of uranium particles enriched to up to 83.7% purity, very close to weapons grade, at its Fordow enrichment plant, according to a report by the nuclear watchdog seen by Reuters.

“The issue of monitoring the performance, status and capacity of the nuclear industry of the Islamic Republic is the most important goal that is on the agenda of the agency,” IRNA quoted Eslami as saying before his Saturday meeting with Grossi.

“The parties did not fulfil their commitments” in the 2015 nuclear deal, and so Iran decided to “reduce its commitments”.

Under an agreement signed with six major world powers, Iran had curbed its nuclear programme in return for relief from U.S., European Union and United Nations sanctions.

But former U.S. President Donald Trump reneged on the deal and restored harsh U.S. sanctions in 2018, prompting Iran to start violating the deal’s nuclear limits about a year later.

Eslami said on Wednesday that the Islamic Republic’s production was at 60%.

“The agenda of these meetings include remaining safeguard issues as well as technical and legal disagreements between Iran and the IAEA,” IRNA said in a commentary on Friday, without elaborating.

Iran’s stonewalling of the IAEA’s years-long investigation into uranium traces found at three undeclared sites prompted the United Nations watchdog’s 35-nation Board of Governors to pass a resolution at its last quarterly meeting in November ordering Tehran to cooperate urgently with the probe.

That cooperation has not materialised and Grossi is hoping that a meeting with hardline President Ebrahim Raisi would help smooth the way toward ending the deadlock, diplomats in Europe say. The board’s next quarterly meeting starts on Monday.

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