IAEA chief says lack of contact with Iran is ‘staggering’

There is an “astonishing” lack of contact between Iran’s new government and the International Atomic Energy Agency, the director general of the nuclear watchdog, Rafael Grossi, told reporters in Vienna on Friday.

“Them [Iran] They keep saying that they will see me soon, but it is not done yet and until it is done, we will have some doubts, “said Grossi.

He was hoping to go before the IAEA board meeting that starts on November 22 and before the resumption of talks on the reactivation of the Iran deal scheduled for November 29.

The IAEA is tasked with monitoring Iranian compliance with the Iran deal, also known as the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, designed to prevent Iran from producing a nuclear weapon.

Former US President Donald Trump abandoned the agreement, but President Joe Biden would like to restore it. The agreement was originally signed between Tehran and the six world powers: the United States, Russia, China, France, Germany, and Great Britain.

The Iranian flag flies in front of the UN office building, which houses the IAEA headquarters, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, in Vienna, Austria, on May 24, 2021 (credit: LISI NIESNER / REUTERS).

Iran in recent years has halted its compliance with the deal and, earlier this month, increased its arsenal of enriched uranium by 60% to 25 kilograms.

Grossi visited Iran in September to discuss ways to ensure IAEA verification and met with the director of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), Mohammad Eslami.

On Friday, Grossi downplayed the importance of that meeting, lamenting the lack of contact between the IAEA and the new Iranian government headed by President Ebrahim Raisi, who was elected in June and took office in August.

“I have not had any contact with this government, apart from technical conversations that were cordial with Mr. Eslami on a couple of occasions. But I have not had any with a government that has been there for more than five months.

“This is amazing. I say it openly because I say it to them, I think we should have had this contact much earlier, ”Grossi said.

He added that “there is a long list of things that we must discuss.”

Reuters contributed to this report.


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