IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi arrived in Tehran on Friday on a two-day visit and met Iranian President Ebrahim Raeisi, as well as Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian and AEOI President Mohammad Eslami, according to aeoi.org.ir.
These high-level meetings addressed the importance of taking steps in order to facilitate enhanced cooperation, to expedite as appropriate the resolution of outstanding safeguards issues.
Both sides recognize that such positive engagements can pave the way for wider agreements among state parties.
In their statements, the two sides agreed on the following issues:
1. Interactions between the IAEA and Iran will be carried out in a spirit of collaboration, and in full conformity with the competences of the IAEA and the rights and obligations of Iran, based on the comprehensive safeguards agreement.
2. Regarding the outstanding safeguards issues related to the three locations, Iran expressed its readiness to continue its cooperation and provide further information and access to address the outstanding safeguards issues.
3. Iran, on a voluntary basis will allow the IAEA to implement further appropriate verification and monitoring activities. Modalities will be agreed between the two sides in the course of a technical meeting which will take place soon in Tehran.
Raeisi urges impartiality
In his meeting with Grossi, the Iranian president called on the IAEA to adopt a completely professional approach toward Tehran’s peaceful nuclear program and refrain from letting political powers, which only seek to achieve their objectives, affect its activities.
Raeisi said the United States, Zionist regime and certain states have used the nuclear issue as a pretext to double their pressure on Iran’s people, president.ir reported.
He added this comes as the Zionist regime is not even an IAEA member and does not abide by the agency’s regulations.
Raeisi expressed hope that the IAEA would, based on a professional and just behavior and the principle of impartiality, reflect the realities about Tehran’s peaceful nuclear activities as well as the country’s efforts to remove ambiguities and remain committed to the regulations.
The Iranian president added Tehran has always had the highest level of cooperation with the agency based on its goodwill and commitment to keep its promises.
He pointed to the history of cooperation between Iran and the agency, saying visits by the IAEA officials to Tehran are indicative of the Islamic Republic’s firm determination to cooperate constructively with the agency.
Raeisi said Iran has remained committed to its obligations under a 2015 nuclear deal, as confirmed over 15 times in the IAEA reports, while the United States withdrew from the agreement in 2018 and the Europeans have failed to honor their obligations vis-à-vis Tehran ever since.
Grossi described his meetings with Iranian officials during the trip as very constructive and positive, saying he is certain that the visit will prepare the ground for future interaction and will lead to the enhancement of cooperation between the two sides.
He added it is quite clear that which side is to blame for the present situation of the nuclear deal, adding the ill-wishers do not want cooperation between Iran and the agency to be successful and the best way to respond them is to enhance bilateral cooperation.
Call for independent cooperation
Earlier on Saturday, the president of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) called on the IAEA to avoid being swayed by those who aim to hinder cooperation between the two sides.
Mohammad Eslami made the remarks speaking at a joint press conference with Grossi after their meetings earlier in the day, Press TV reported.
“We must be able to resolve issues in a trustful manner and prevent the entry and penetration of the elements and agents whose purpose is to disrupt a normal and professional relationship,” he added.
“The recent visit by Grossi, which started on Friday, is a message to establish communications and relations between Iran and the agency. Communications and reports must build trust,” Eslami said.
He called on the IAEA to prepare for a sort of interaction, by which the agency “can always maintain its duties toward Iran’s nuclear program within the framework of the safeguards agreements”.
Eslami also touched on Iran’s scientific research and capabilities in the field of nuclear technology, saying the country is ready to share its achievements with other states.
The AEOI chief denied claims of Iran having enriched uranium to an 84 percent level, saying the country is enriching uranium up to 60 percent purity.
Eslami called for the remaining signatories to a 2015 nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), to fulfill their obligations, saying, “Three European and some other countries are just focusing on Iran’s JCPOA obligations while they too have commitments that they need to adhere to.”
He said, “We came to an arrangement [with Grossi] to define our cooperation within the framework of the safeguards.”
Grossi, for his part, said any military attack on nuclear facilities is outlawed and condemned, responding to US and Israeli threats to target those in Iran.
The administration of US President Joe Biden has drawn closer to Israel in recent weeks, conducting large-scale joint military exercises with the regime.
Last month, US Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides said “all options are on the table” against Iran and that “Israel can and should do whatever they need to deal with, and we’ve got their back”.
“There are two separate issues in this regard. First, attacks on nuclear power plants have unfortunately become common, and this is due to the war in Ukraine. Second, these attacks have been condemned during the agency’s public conferences. So I think that attacks on nuclear facilities are totally condemned and illegal,” Grossi said.
The IAEA chief added he had “constructive discussions” with Iranian officials that could pave the way for the revival of the JCPOA to bring the US back to compliance and remove sanctions on the Islamic Republic.
“By having a constructive discussion, like what we are having now, and having good agreements, like I am sure we are going to have, we are going to be paving the way for important agreements,” he said.
Grossi claimed that his “agency has never been used as a political tool and will never be used”, reflecting on observations that the IAEA’s reports on Iran are often based on feedback provided by the US, Israel and others.
“We did not work under the instructions of any country and have a Board of Governors that reviews our performance. We do not act on the words of others and it is necessary to talk and cooperate with each other.”
In June 2022, Grossi paid a brief visit to Israel ahead of the agency’s Board of Governors meeting which passed a resolution, drafted by the US and its allies, accusing Iran of not cooperating on “three undeclared sites”. Tehran said it had answered all questions about the sites and the IAEA had been convinced.
“It is necessary and important that Iran and the agency have close relations, and the more these relations are on the part of Iran, the others cannot interfere with their influence. This shows that it is important for us to work together,” Grossi said.