IAEA chief’s visit paves the way for potential deal: MP

March 6, 2022 - 18:46

TEHRAN – A senior Iranian lawmaker has said that the visit to Tehran by the head of the UN nuclear watchdog was intended to address technical issues and lay the ground for a potential deal in Vienna. 

The lawmaker, Mahmoud Abbaszadeh Meshkini, who is the spokesman for the Iranian Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Committee, said the visit of Rafael Grossi, the director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), had no political aspects and was only related to technical issues. 

Meshkini told the Islamic Consultative Assembly News Agency (ICANA) that Iran’s negotiations with Grossi are only within the framework of safeguards and that Iran won’t accept issues that fall beyond the scope of the safeguards. 

Grossi paid a visit to Iran on Saturday and met with Mohammad Eslami, the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), and Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian. 

The visit comes against a backdrop of a highly charged atmosphere in Vienna. The talks there have been moving ahead slowly in the last few weeks. Despite significant progress, the negotiating parties have been unable to conclude and announce a deal. And over the past few days, there have been a lot of projections that the deal could be announced at any moment.

After the visit, Eslami and Grossi issued a joint statement outlining a deal between Iran and the IAEA. 

“The AEOI and the IAEA agreed, in continuation of their cooperation as stated in the Joint Statement of 26 August 2020, to accelerate and strengthen their cooperation and dialogue aimed at the resolution of the issues,” the statement said. 

Under the new AEOI-IAEA deal, “the AEOI will provide to the IAEA no later than 20 March 2022 written explanations including related supporting documents to the questions raised by the IAEA which have not been addressed by Iran on the issues related to three locations.”

“Within two weeks after receiving the AEOI’s written explanations and related supporting documents, the IAEA will review this information and will submit to the AEOI any questions on received information,” according to the joint statement. 

The statement added, “Within one week after the IAEA has submitted to the AEOI any questions on such information, the IAEA and AEOI will meet in Tehran to address the questions. Separate meetings will be held for each location.”

It concluded, “Upon completion of the activities set out in paragraphs 1 to 3 above and following the corresponding evaluation by the Agency, the Director General will aim to report his conclusion by the June 2022 Board of Governors.”

During Grossi’s visit, Eslami called for "nonpolitical collaboration" from the IAEA. He made the remarks during a joint news conference with Grossi.

Grossi stated that he had been in regular contact with the Iranian nuclear chief, but that the two sides "did have a lot of critical concerns" that had not been handled for a long time and that they had now "agreed to try a practical, pragmatic approach" to settle them.

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