Take concrete steps for cooperation

UN atomic chief urges Iran

Published : 08 May 2024 09:50 PM | Updated : 08 May 2024 09:50 PM

UN atomic watchdog chief Rafael Grossi on Tuesday decried "completely unsatisfactory" cooperation from Tehran after returning from Iran where he urged leaders to adopt "concrete" measures to address concerns over its nuclear programme.

Grossi's visit came at a time of heightened regional tensions and with his International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) criticising Iran for lack of cooperation on inspections and other outstanding issues. "The present state is completely unsatisfactory for me. We are almost at an impasse and this needs to be changed," Grossi told reporters at the airport in Vienna, where the IAEA is based.

He said there was no "magic wand" to solve a "very, very complex set of issues", while he pressed the Islamic republic to "deliver very soon".

"But of course, for me and also I would say for the international community, there is a need to have some results sooner rather than later," he said.

- 'Tangible measures' -

Earlier on Tuesday, at a news conference in the Iranian city of Isfahan,

Grossi said he had proposed to Iranian officials that they "focus on the very

concrete, very practical and tangible measures that can be implemented in

order to accelerate" cooperation.

Grossi held talks with senior Iranian officials including Atomic Energy

Organization's head Mohammad Eslami and spoke at Iran's first International

Conference on Nuclear Science and Technology held in Isfahan.

Grossi insisted on the need to "settle differences" on the nuclear issue

while the Middle East was going through "difficult times", particularly the

war between Israel and the Iran-backed Palestinian militant group Hamas in

the Gaza Strip.

"Sometimes, political conditions pose obstacles to full-fledged cooperation"

between Iran and the international community, Grossi told reporters.

Grossi said a March 2023 agreement with Iran was "still valid" but required

more "substance".

The agreement was reached during Grossi's last visit to Iran and outlined

basic cooperation measures including on safeguards and monitoring.

The IAEA chief said, however, that there had been a "slowdown" in the

agreement's implementation, including Iran reducing the number of inspections

and withdrawing the accreditation of a group of IAEA experts.

- 'Good basis' -

Iran suspended compliance with a landmark 2015 deal setting caps on nuclear

activities after the United States unilaterally withdrew from the agreement

in 2018 and reimposed sweeping sanctions.

"We have this legal right to reduce our commitments when the other parties do

not adhere to their obligations," Eslami said during the joint news

conference in Isfahan.

Tensions between Iran and the IAEA have repeatedly flared since the deal fell

apart, and EU-mediated efforts have so far failed to bring Washington back on

board and to get Tehran to again comply with the terms of the accord.

The agency has repeatedly criticised Iran for a lack of cooperation on issues

including the expansion of its nuclear work, the barring of inspectors and

deactivating the agency's monitoring devices at its nuclear facilities.

In a report presented at its last Board of Governors meeting in March, the

IAEA said that Iran's estimated stockpile of enriched uranium had reached 27

times the limit set out in the 2015 accord.