Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian (right) welcomes International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief Rafael Grossi ahead of a meeting in Tehran on Mar 4, 2023. (PHOTO / AFP)
TEHRAN — Iran's nuclear chief said on Wednesday that cooperation between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is continuing on the basis of a joint statement issued by the two sides in March, official news agency IRNA reported.
President of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Mohammad Eslami made the remarks in an address to reporters on the sidelines of a cabinet meeting, rejecting a report by Bloomberg claiming a "plunge" in IAEA's inspections of the country's nuclear activities.
Reacting to recent remarks by IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi that chances of Iran returning to a 2015 nuclear deal are "slim," Eslami said the agency is not the one Iran is negotiating with on the revival of the pact
Bloomberg claimed on Friday in a report that IAEA data shows the number of examinations fell by 10 percent in 2022 after Iran ended monitoring arrangements specified under the "now-collapsed" agreement with world powers.
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Eslami explained that relations between Iran and the IAEA are continuing on the basis of the safeguards agreements and the Non-Proliferation Treaty, adding no disruption has occurred.
Reacting to recent remarks by IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi that chances of Iran returning to a 2015 nuclear deal are "slim," Eslami said the agency is not the one Iran is negotiating with on the revival of the pact.
In an interview with CBC News aired on Sunday, Grossi said the chances of Iran returning to the nuclear deal are "slim, but it's important to keep interacting with Tehran," adding "if the interactions between Iran and the agency are seen or assessed as bad and the cooperation is not good, the chances are zero."
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Grossi paid a two-day visit to Tehran in early March when the two sides reached an agreement on further interactions based on Iran's cooperation and greater openness to IAEA's inspections.
Iran signed the nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), with world powers in July 2015, agreeing to put some curbs on its nuclear program in return for the removal of the sanctions on the country. The United States, however, pulled out of the deal in May 2018 and reimposed its unilateral sanctions on Iran, prompting the latter to drop some of its nuclear commitments under the deal.
The talks on the JCPOA's revival began in April 2021 in Vienna. No breakthrough has been achieved after the latest round of talks in August 2022.