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UN nuclear watchdog chief announces trip to Iran

August 22, 2020

The new chief of the IAEA has announced his first trip to Iran. His stated aim is to pressure Iranian officials into granting access to two potential nuclear sites.

Vienna, Austria | International Atomic Energy Agency  | Rafael Mariano Grossi, Director General
Image: picture-alliance/Photoshot

The Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Rafael Grossi, will make his first trip to Tehran as head of the UN's nuclear watchdog on Monday, in an attempt to put pressure on Iran to allow inspectors to visit two key sites, he announced on Saturday.

The IAEA board passed a resolution in June to amp up the pressure on the country with regards to suspicions over two sites that are suspected of potentially still containing undeclared nuclear material.

'Outstanding questions'

Grossi declared the objective of the trip is "that my meetings in Tehran will lead to concrete progress in addressing the outstanding questions that the Agency has related to safeguards in Iran and, in particular, to resolve the issue of access."

Read more: Is Iran using the coronavirus crisis to bolster its nuclear program?

Iran's permanent mission to the UN in Vienna, on behalf of the Iranian ambassador, Kazem Ghaibabadi, also announced its invitation to Grossi on Twitter, stating its cooperation with the IAEA.

Hopeful for a resolution

Grossi, who was named Director-General of the IAEA in December 2019, laid out in his statement that he would be meeting "high-level Iranian authorities," although he did not provide any names.

Diplomats working in Vienna are hopeful that the standoff over access to the two sites can be resolved by September when the IAEA Board of Governors will next meet.

Read more: What is the Iran nuclear deal?

ab/shs (Reuters, AP)

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