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EghtesadOnline: Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency said he is looking forward to prompt and full implementation of Iran’s assurances and his joint statement with the Iranian nuclear chief issued following his recent trip to Tehran.

Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency said he is looking forward to prompt and full implementation of Iran’s assurances and his joint statement with the Iranian nuclear chief issued following his recent trip to Tehran.

“I now look forward to the follow-up technical discussions [with Iran],” Rafael Grossi said in his Introductory Statement to the IAEA Board of Governors on Monday.

The agency’s chief made a two-day trip to Tehran last weekend to discuss ambiguities over Iran’s nuclear activities.

He held talks with top Iranian officials, including the Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran Mohammad Eslami, after which they issued a joint statement.

They also agreed that a technical delegation from the agency travel to Tehran in the future, according to Iranian foreign ministry spokesman.

Nasser Kanaani said with agreements reached during Grossi’s top-level discussions, the meeting of the IAEA Board of Governors is expected to go on within its technical framework and without politicization and pressure by certain members.  

“Technical dialogue between Iran and the agency will continue until the remaining issues are resolved step by step,” he said at a press briefing on Monday, according to ISNA.

Along with his joint statement with Eslami, Grossi submitted to the board his latest report on verification and monitoring in Iran in light of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231 which endorsed the 2015 nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

He notified that the agency has not been able to perform certain JCPOA verification and monitoring activities for two years.

Iran has restricted IAEA inspections required by the JCPOA as part of its countermeasures against the United States’ withdrawal from the deal and its reimposition of tough sanctions, as well as in response to hostile measures by the Board of Governors.

Grossi said Iran has agreed to partly restore JCPOA-related cooperation.

“Following my discussions with Vice-President Eslami in Tehran on Saturday, I note Iran’s agreement to allow the agency to proceed with further monitoring and verification measures indispensable to the agency fulfilling its mission,” he told the board.

Achieving this would be very important, according to Grossi, because it would allow the agency to begin to establish a new baseline necessary in the event of a resumption of Iran’s implementation of its nuclear-related commitments under the JCPOA.

Iran began to scale down its commitments following the US exit from the deal, but said all measures would be reversed once the sanctions are effectively removed.

Negotiations to restore the deal, which began in early 2021, have now been stalled for months over final differences.



Normal Regulations

The IAEA chief also reported to board members a significant change to the declared design information for Iran’s Fordow Fuel Enrichment Plant, which he claimed were implemented in January without informing the agency in advance.

“This was contrary to Iran’s obligations under its Safeguards Agreement,” he said.

Iran argues that the report of the change was a “mistake” by the inspector which was later clarified.

After discussions, Grossi said, Iran has confirmed that it will facilitate further increase in the frequency and intensity of verification activities at Fordow, as notified by the agency.

Iranian officials had earlier confirmed that inspections were set to increase at the site as per normal safeguards regulations, since it has changed its enrichment level, raising it to 60% purity.

Kanaani said discussions with the agency are only over the schedule for inspections.

The director general also reported that in January, inspectors found uranium particles enriched to nearly 84% at Fordow, a fact that Iran does not deny, but asserts that was an unintended fluctuation in enrichment levels which normally occurs during the process.

“The agency and Iran have initiated technical discussions to fully clarify this issue,” Grossi said.



Important Work

A topic of discussion between Iran and agency during Grossi’s trip was the outstanding safeguards issues related to nuclear particles that the IAEA claims have been found at three old undeclared sites in Iran.

Iran rejects the accusation, but had provided answers to the agency, which the director general earlier dismissed as uncredible.

At the board meeting, Grossi said he welcomes Iran’s high-level assurances that it is willing to implement further appropriate verification and monitoring activities and to cooperate with the agency to resolve the issues.

“In the spirit of the joint statement, I look forward promptly to engaging in technical follow-up discussions with Iran, as we have agreed. There is important work ahead of us,” he said.

Officials in Tehran have refuted reports that Iran has agreed to give the agency further access to individuals or the three locations in questions.  

The outstanding issues have been a stumbling block in talks to restore the nuclear deal, as Iran has demanded the closure of the investigations before any agreement on the JCPOA.

The foreign ministry spokesman said issues between Iran and the agency have become an excuse for the other negotiating parties.

“If these issues are addressed, the other sides will lose an excuse in the course of negotiations,” Kanaani said.

IAEA implementation