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Nuclear watchdog says still no communication with Tehran

November 12, 2021

The head of the IAEA has said it is "astonishing" that he has yet to hear from the government of ultraconservative President Ebrahim Raisi — who took office in August — about Iran's nuclear activities.

 Ebrahim Raisi with face mask sitting next to Iranian flag
The International Atomic Energy Agency has said it has had no communication with Iran's new government under President Ebrahim Raisi over its nuclear programImage: Iranian Presidency/AA/picture alliance

The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency on Friday raised concerns about the fact that the IAEA has yet to be contacted by Iran's new government to discuss several outstanding disputes regarding nuclear activities.

IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi said it was "astonishing" that President Ebrahim Raisi's government had not been in contact since its election win in June.

"I have not had any contact with this government ... that has been there for more than five months," Grossi told reporters on the sidelines of a conference on nuclear security on Friday.

"I think that we should have had this contact much earlier… There's a long list of things we need to discuss," he said.

The IAEA chief said the only exceptions had been "technical conversations" with Iran's new atomic energy chief, Mohammad Eslami.

Grossi, who had been hoping to visit Iran before the next meeting of the IAEA's board of governors starts on November 22, is still waiting for an invitation.

Iran blocks full IAEA monitoring

Iran has blocked the IAEA from fully monitoring nuclear activities in recent months. The move prompted Grossi to visit Tehran in September to conduct talks with top officials.

Following Grossi's visit, the IAEA said it had been denied "indispensable" access to a centrifuge component-manufacturing workshop where it wanted to service monitoring equipment such as cameras, despite an earlier agreement.

Diplomats anticipate talks to revive 2015 nuclear deal  

On November 29, diplomats are scheduled to resume talks in Vienna, hoping to revive the 2015 nuclear deal. Talks started in April but were then suspended in June.

Also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan Of Action (JCPOA), the Iran nuclear deal was designed to prevent the country from developing nuclear weapons in exchange for sanctions relief.

Iran stopped observing some conditions of the JCPOA in 2019, after the US withdrew from the plan in 2018 under then President Donald Trump and began imposing sanctions on Iran.

mvb/msh (AFP, dpa)

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