The National - News

‘No progress’ in Iran talks, chief nuclear inspector says


The head of the UN nuclear watchdog yesterday said there had been “no progress” in talks with Iran to resolve disputes over the monitoring of the country’s atomic programme, a day after his return from Tehran.

Rafael Grossi, director general of the Internatio­nal Atomic Energy Agency, told a meeting of the agency’s board that the talks were “inconclusi­ve”.

Mr Grossi had sought to tackle constraint­s put on the agency’s inspection­s this year, outstandin­g questions over the presence of undeclared nuclear material at sites in Iran and the treatment of IAEA staff in the country.

“We were not able to make progress,” Mr Grossi said.

He said that “in spite of my best efforts”, time was running out to end a stand-off over reinstalli­ng surveillan­ce cameras at a centrifuge-parts workshop.

“We are close to the point where I would not be able to guarantee continuity of knowledge,” he said.

There has been a lengthy gap in access to the workshop at the Tesa Karaj complex, northwest of Tehran, where Iran removed cameras after what it said was a sabotage attack by Israel.

The IAEA currently has only limited access to monitoring equipment at Iran’s nuclear facilities, which Mr Grossi says is inadequate.

He said the IAEA and Iran had a legal agreement, “which is intended to protect inspectors from intimidati­on, from seizure of their property”.

“Our Iranian colleagues have instituted a number of measures which are simply incompatib­le” with this, he said.

The talks came before the scheduled resumption on Monday of negotiatio­ns between Tehran and world powers aimed at reviving the 2015 deal that gave Iran sanctions relief in return for curbs on its nuclear programme.

Iran began moving away from its commitment­s under the deal in 2019, a year after president Donald Trump withdrew the US from the accord and began to reimpose tough sanctions.

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