Rafael Grossi, head of the nuclear watchdog, said the talks could help restore the nuclear deal between Iran and several Western countries.
Tehran, Iran – The head of the global nuclear watchdog is holding talks in Tehran in a bid to reach agreement with Iran on nuclear safety issues that could also affect the country’s 2015 nuclear deal, which collapsed in 2018.
Rafael Grossi, the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), landed in the Iranian capital on Friday evening and met Mohammad Eslami, the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI).
The two continued their talks on Saturday and also held a joint press conference.
Grossi then met with Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian.
Grossi is expected to hold another press conference when he returns to Vienna later on Saturday.
The trip, the first in months, comes days before the next meeting of the IAEA Executive Board on Monday, where there is a chance that the United States and its European allies could pursue a new resolution to censor Iran.
Amid reports it has resisted a European push for a new resolution, Washington has said it will wait for the results of Grossi’s travels to decide on its next move.
Eslami told reporters on Saturday that Tehran will announce a response if the Western parties to the nuclear deal decide to go through with what would be their third resolution in the past year.
Iran has stepped up its nuclear enrichment efforts and slackened IAEA oversight in response to the previous two resolutions.
The agency confirmed last week that traces of uranium enriched to the near-weapons-grade level of 84 percent have been found in Iran and that it will need to discuss this further with Tehran.
Iranian officials have said that the fact that “particles” of more highly enriched materials have been found does not mean it is actively enriched above the stated level of 60 percent, something Eslami reiterated on Saturday.
“We are committed to our security agreement with the agency and we will not allow any elements or actions to undermine this cooperation, so our work will continue and we will not allow non-compliance to cause a lack of trust,” said Eslami. said at the press conference.
Grossi said work on several issues, including unexplained material found several years ago at three Iranian sites, is continuing and results cannot be confirmed until the end of the talks.
“What we’re doing here and the agreement we’re trying to reach could help restore the JCPOA,” he said, referring to the nuclear agreement’s official name, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
The nuclear deal was signed in 2015, but Washington unilaterally pulled out of it in 2018 and imposed harsh sanctions on Iran, which gradually expanded its limits, including a 3.67 percent cap on enrichment.
Attempts to reinstate or renegotiate the deal have stalled over the past year.
Tehran claims its nuclear program is strictly peaceful and does not seek nuclear weapons.