Arab News

Lack of IAEA-Iran monitoring deal serious concern: US

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The lack of an interim agreement between the UN nuclear watchdog and Iran on the monitoring of atomic activities is a serious concern that has been communicat­ed to Tehran, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Friday.

Struck on Feb. 21, the interim monitoring deal was valid for three months, then extended by a month on May 24. The Internatio­nal Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has said it expired on Thursday. It is in talks with Iran on another extension.

“This remains a serious concern,” Blinken told reporters at a news conference in Paris alongside his French counterpar­t JeanYves Le Drian. “The concern has been communicat­ed to Iran and needs to be resolved.

Kazem Gharibabad­i, Iran’s ambassador to the watchdog, said that “Iran was not required to comply” to the IAEA head’s request, the Tasnim news agency reported.

“We still have significan­t difference­s with Iran,” Blinken said, adding that he hoped a resumption of talks in the coming days could resolve them. Blinken, who said talks would not last indefinite­ly, said the immediate priority was to put the nuclear deal “back in the box,” but that the US and its partners would also have the tools if a deal was agreed on to handle Iran’s regional and missile activities.

Le Drian said the ball was in the court of Iran’s decision-makers and that the negotiatio­ns had now entered their toughest stage. “We’re waiting for Iranian authoritie­s to take the final difficult decisions to allow for the revival of the 2015 nuclear deal,” he said.

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