Sun, 05 Dec 2021

The head of the United Nations' atomic agency says talks he held in Tehran this week over Iran's nuclear program proved inconclusive.

Rafael Grossi, the director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), traveled to Iran for negotiations ahead of talks next week in Vienna aimed at reviving a 2015 deal between Iran and world powers.

Grossi met with the head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization and the Islamic Republic's foreign minister as he specifically sought to convince Iran to reinstall four of the IAEA's cameras at a centrifuge-parts workshop in Karaj that Iran claims was the victim of apparent sabotage.

Iran earlier this year stopped allowing the UN agency's inspectors to conduct snap inspections required under the 2015 deal.

Grossi subsequently brokered an arrangement in which Iran allowed IAEA cameras inside nuclear facilities to keep running with the exception of those at Karaj, where in June Tehran refused to allow IAEA access citing an ongoing investigation into an alleged act of sabotage by Israel at the facility.

Grossi told the IAEA's Board of Governors on November 24 that negotiations failed to result in any breakthrough regarding the cameras at the Karaj facility.

'Despite my best efforts, these extensive negotiations and deliberations to address Iran's outstanding safeguards issues, detailed in the two reports, proved inconclusive,' Grossi told the 35-nation Board of Governors at the start of its quarterly meeting, according to the text of the speech sent to reporters.

He was referring to reports recently issued by the agency.

Despite the inconclusive results of Grossi's trip, diplomats said no action is likely to be taken by the IAEA board against Iran at the meeting for fear of damaging upcoming talks on reviving the 2015 deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

Under former President Donald Trump, the United States in 2018 withdrew from the deal intended to curtail Iran's nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief. Tehran has since consistently stepped up activity in its nuclear program, including expanding its stockpile of enriched uranium.

Trump's successor, Joe Biden, has expressed interest in rejoining the pact if Iran returns to full compliance.

However, indirect negotiations between the deal's signatories that started in April in Vienna were put on hold in June after the Islamic republic elected hard-liner Ebrahim Raisi as president.

Grossi's visit to Iran, his third since February, came ahead of talks with world powers in Vienna on November 29 -- the first since Raisi's election.

The remaining signatories to the 2015 deal -- Britain, China, France, Germany, and Russia -- will join the talks while the United States will participate indirectly.

With reporting by AFP and Reuters

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Washington DC 20036

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