Middle East/North Africa

Nuclear watchdog: US, Iran entering ‘decisive’ period on resuming talks

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The Iranian flag is seen in this June 10, 2021, file photo.

The head of the United Nations’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) says the United States and Iran are entering a “decisive” period on resuming talks to reenter the Iran nuclear deal. 

IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi told The Washington Post that Iran has invited him to meet with political leaders in the coming days. Grossi told the newspaper that he plans to discuss disruptions in monitoring Iran’s nuclear program and other issues that could make it harder to return to the agreement.

Grossi further said that the other parties to the agreement — Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China — as well as the United States, have told him that “it would be extremely difficult to have an agreement” of this type if monitoring is not fully restored.

Former President Trump pulled out of the nuclear deal in 2018, and Iran stopped complying in 2019.

Talks for the countries to restart the nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, had been ongoing in Vienna before they were halted in June.   

Earlier this month, State Department spokesperson Ned Price said the U.S. wants to restart talks to rejoin the deal “soon.”  

“We hope their definition of soon matches our definition of soon,” Price said at the time. “We would like negotiations to resume in Vienna as soon as possible.”

The IAEA has warned that Iran was failing to comply with requirements under a monitoring deal.

Specifically, the agency warned in September that Iran had not allowed the agency to access its manufacturing workshop at the TESA Karaj centrifuge component manufacturing workshop, which had apparently been sabotaged in June when one of IAEA’s cameras were destroyed. 

Grossi met with Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Washington earlier this week. According to a readout of the meeting, Blinken “consulted with the Director General regarding the need for Iran to meet its nuclear verification obligations and commitments, cease its nuclear provocations, and return to the diplomacy it says it seeks.”

Tags Antony Blinken Donald Trump Iran Nuclear pact Iran-U.S. relations nuclear talks

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