IAEA says ‘no progress’ in discussions with Iran over undeclared nuclear material

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A new visit to Tehran is scheduled for this month, but the UN nuclear watchdog said Thursday that there had been no progress in talks with Iran regarding the presence of undeclared nuclear material at three locations. 

The matter has come up in intermittent talks between Tehran and international powers to resurrect a historic 2015 agreement that intended to rein in Iran’s nuclear programme in exchange for the lifting of sanctions.

“The director general (Rafael Grossi) is seriously concerned that there has still been no progress in clarifying and resolving the outstanding safeguards issues,” the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said in a report seen by AFP.

prior the end of November, senior agency representatives will travel to Tehran for a technical visit, the report stated.

“The agency has reiterated that at this meeting, it expects to start receiving from Iran technically credible explanations on these issues, including access to locations and material, as well as taking the samples as appropriate,” it added.

The director general “reiterates that these issues… need to be resolved for the agency to be in a position to provide assurance that Iran’s nuclear programme is exclusively peaceful,” it added.

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Grossi stated in an interview with AFP on Thursday that the IAEA had been “trying to help them focus their answers so that we can have something in our hands” in meetings with Iranian officials ahead of the COP27 climate summit in Egypt. 

A major issue that caused the IAEA board of governors to pass a resolution criticising Iran in June was the UN watchdog’s pressure on Iran to provide information regarding the presence of nuclear material at three unannounced sites. 

The IAEA’s reports on Iran will be considered as usual at the board’s upcoming regular meeting, which is scheduled for the following week.

(with inputs from agencies)
 

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