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Number Seven Thousand Two Hundred and Fifty - 04 March 2023
Iran Daily - Number Seven Thousand Two Hundred and Fifty - 04 March 2023 - Page 2

Tehran trip: Tough test

The director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) arrived in ‎Tehran on Friday for talks with senior Iranian officials ahead of the next meeting ‎of the UN nuclear watchdog’s Board of Governors in March.‎
The trip comes at a time when certain differences remain unresolved between ‎Tehran and the agency over the safeguards issues as well as the IAEA’s claim of ‎having detected uranium particles enriched to an almost 84 percent level in Iran’s ‎nuclear facilities. In addition, these differences have had their negative impacts on ‎the talks to revive a 2015 nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive ‎Plan of Action (JCPOA).‎
Currently, many experts are upbeat about seeing the Grossi visit and his talks with ‎Iranian officials turn into a turning point in Tehran’s nuclear issue following the ‎past bitter experiences. ‎
Concurrent with expressing readiness for cooperation with the IAEA, Iranian ‎officials have warned that the agency chief should not let political issues and ‎foreign pressures affect the technical discussions and cooperation with Tehran.‎
The standstill in the nuclear talks, concurrent with the intensification of the ‎sanctions by the United States and Europe on Iran on different pretexts and, of ‎course, the ramping up of Tehran’s nuclear activities, appear to have convinced the ‎negotiating parties, in particular Iran and the United States, that the continuation of ‎the current situation fails to be in anybody’s favor. ‎
Within the same framework and prior to Grossi’s arrival in Tehran, US Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Colin Kahl had described the JCPOA as the best ‎solution vis-à-vis Iran. Echoing Kahl’s remarks, the EU deputy foreign policy chief ‎Enrique Mora also said the JCPOA is the best available option. ‎
Also, the EU foreign affairs spokesman Peter Stano told Qatar’s Aljazeera news ‎channel on Thursday that there is a consensus within the bloc on the necessity of ‎continuing the negotiations and contacts with Iran. In addition, Iranian Foreign ‎Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian has voiced Tehran’s readiness for reaching a ‎nuclear agreement. ‎
Grossi’s visit ahead of the Board of Governors meeting and the Western sides’ ‎stances can serve as yet another test to see whether Europe and the United States ‎are preparing to revive the JCPOA or would still seek to prevent the achievement ‎of an agreement on different pretexts. ‎
If the Western sides, like in the two previous Board of Governor meetings, would ‎seek to pressure Tehran and issue resolutions against Iran’s nuclear activities, the ‎negotiations’ knot would seem to remain to be a Gordian one, with the issue even ‎getting more complicated. ‎
Following the previous meeting of the IAEA Board of Governors, the Atomic ‎Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) placed a number of new retaliatory measures ‎on its agenda in response to the anti-Tehran resolution and the Grossi visit was ‎postponed. ‎
At present, however, The Wall Street Journal reporter Laurence Norman has said ‎the United States and the E3 have some differences over the claim of Iran’s “84 ‎percent uranium enrichment”, adding the United States is not on the same page ‎with Europe about issuing an anti-Tehran resolution. ‎
In remarks on Friday, US envoy for Iran, Robert Malley, pointed to Grossi’s ‎Tehran visit, saying Washington’s reaction would depend on the results of the ‎consultations between the agency’s chief and Iranian officials.‎
He said following the IAEA’s report of the trip, the next steps will be taken. ‎
In an address to reporters on Thursday, Grossi said it is important for us to ‎maintain contacts and dialogue with Iran at the highest level.‎
He added, “We’re recording alarming changes in the nuclear activities of Iran at ‎certain points. The IAEA should have direct access to such points in order to study ‎the situation on the ground and dispel doubts that have been spreading recently. ‎The matter was also emphasized during our meeting with Iranian colleagues.”‎
AEOI President Mohammad Eslami also said on Wednesday exchanges of ‎delegations at the levels of experts and deputies had continued with the IAEA over ‎the past two months and during the past two weeks, teams from the agency came to ‎Tehran and exchanged views. ‎
One should wait and see whether Grossi’s talks with Iranian officials would lead to ‎the resumption of the nuclear talks or not.


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