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Iranian nuclear: faced with the impasse, the IAEA asks for pledges “as quickly as possible”

The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), returning from Iran, called on the Islamic Republic & provide "concrete results as quickly as possible", denouncing çcooperation reduced to a minimum despite the the progress of its nuclear program.

“The current situation is absolutely unsatisfactory. We are almost at an impasse (…) and this must change,” said Rafael Grossi, speaking to journalists at Vienna airport.

He returned from a two-day visit to Iran where he was able to have “important” discussions with the Iranian authorities, who said they were “ready to implement tangible measures ” after more than a year of deterioration in relations.

A little earlier, the director general of the UN body had insisted on the need to “settle the differences ” on the nuclear issue at a time when the Middle East is experiencing “difficult times”, particularly with the war between Israel and the Palestinian movement Hamas, supported by Tehran, in the Gaza Strip.

“Sometimes the political context puts obstacles in the way of full-fledged cooperation,” he said during a nuclear conference in Isfahan, in central Iran.

– “No magic wand” –

Since his previous visit in March 2023, relations have deteriorated between Tehran and the IAEA , whose headquarters are in Vienna and which is responsible for verifying the peaceful nature of the Iranian nuclear program.

Inspections of Iranian sites have been greatly reduced, surveillance cameras were disconnected and the accreditation of a group of experts was withdrawn.

Mr. Grossi regretted in February that Iran had restricted its cooperation “in an unprecedented manner” and denounced a “hostage-taking”.

“We must go from forward”, he insisted on Tuesday, hoping for progress between now and the next meeting of the IAEA Board of Governors, scheduled for June in the Austrian capital.

He did not want to give details on the content of the discussions, relating to “a very, very complex set of questions” that cannot be resolved “with the wave of a magic wand”.

Tensions in the Middle East are reinforcing the fears of the international community, with Iran having enough material to equip itself with several atomic bombs, according to experts.

It further enriches uranium to the level of 60%, a threshold close to the 90% necessary to make a nuclear weapon and well beyond the authorized ceiling of 3 .67% – equivalent to what is used for electricity production.

– “Hostile actions” –

Iran, which denies having such intentions, has gradually freed itself from the commitments made within the framework of the 2015 international agreement governing its nuclear activities in exchange for a lifting of international sanctions.

This pact, known by the acronym JCPOA, was shattered after the unilateral withdrawal of the United States decided in 2018 by President Donald Trump.

Iranian nuclear: faced with the impasse, the IAEA asks for pledges “as quickly as possible”

The head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AIEA), Mohammad Eslami (right), with the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Rafael Grossi, on May 7, 2024 in Isfahan © AFP – ATTA KENARE

“We have the legal right to reduce our commitments when other parties do not respect their obligations”, defended the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), Mohammad Eslami .

This Iranian official, however, demonstrated his country's desire to strengthen its collaboration with the IAEA within the framework of the NPT (Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons of the UN), which is “at the forefront of policies” in Tehran.

He also denounced “the hostile actions against the nuclear program of the Islamic Republic” , blaming Israel, Iran's sworn enemy.

In response, Mr. Grossi asserted that relations between the IAEA and Tehran were not not influenced by “external parties”.

The head of the atomic agency expressed his concern after an attack on April 19 in central Iran attributed to Israel in retaliation for Iranian fire against Israel the previous weekend.

Iran's known nuclear sites are particularly located in the center of its territory, Isfahan, Natanz or Fordo, as well as in the port city of Bushehr, where its only nuclear power plant is located. A park that the Iranians wish to develop to cope with the increase in electricity demand.


All rights of reproduction and representation reserved. © (2024) Agence France-Presse

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116