Atomic watchdog chief returns from Tehran empty-handed

Vienna, Nov 24 (EFE).- Recent efforts to resume international monitoring of Iran’s nuclear facilities were unsuccessful, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency said Wednesday after returning from talks in Tehran.

Rafael Grossi provided an update on the situation at the beginning of a board of governors meeting a day after he took part in discussions with senior officials in the Islamic Republic of Iran.

“Despite my best efforts, these extensive negotiations and deliberations to address Iran’s outstanding safeguards issues (…) proved inconclusive,” he said.

The IAEA monitored Iran’s commitment to the 2015 nuclear deal, officially named the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, up until February this year.

“However, since that date, these activities have been seriously undermined as a result of Iran’s decision to stop the implementation of its nuclear-related commitments under the JCPOA, including the Additional Protocol,” Grossi said in his opening remarks to the meeting.

Iran’s nuclear policies sit high on the agenda at the three-day board meeting, which brings together the 35 members of the atomic watchdog, an independent body that reports to the United Nations.

Grossi arrived in Tehran Monday night after the IAEA last week warned that Iran was blocking its inspection work and that the country had a stockpile of 17.7 kilograms of uranium enriched up to 60%, 7.7kg more than the amount permitted under the 2015 nuclear accord.

Iran downscaled its adherence to the international deal in response to former United States president Donald Trump’s unilateral withdrawal from the pactand the subsequent revival of US sanctions in 2018.

JCPOA negotiations are due to get underway in Vienna next week.

The original 2015 nuclear deal, signed by Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama, saw Tehran trade in much of its nuclear program for a partial easing of tough international sanctions.

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