IAEA not in charge of negotiations: nuclear chief

May 17, 2023 - 20:55

TEHRAN – Iran has reacted to remarks by the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that the chances for reviving the 2015 Iran nuclear deal are slim, saying that the IAEA is not responsible for the negotiations.

Mohammad Eslami, the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), said negotiations over reviving the Iran nuclear deal, officially called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), lies with the P5+1 group of countries, which include the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany. 

In an interview with the Canadian CBC news channel, IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi said that the chances of Iran returning to the JCPOA are slim, but it's important to keep interacting with Tehran. 

“Probably there could be a return to the negotiating table, but if the interactions between Iran and the agency are seen or assessed as bad and the cooperation is not good, the chances are zero,” he said.

Commenting on Grossi’s remarks, Eslami told reporters on Wednesday, “The Agency is not in charge of the (JCPOA) negotiations. It is up to the P5+1.”

He added, “The relations between Iran and the agency are based on safeguards and the NPT treaty, and the monitoring continues, and there has been no defect in it, and there has been no disruption and it continues.”

Talks on reviving the nuclear deal don’t fall within the duties of the IAEA, the nuclear chief noted. “In the JCPOA talks, the International Atomic Energy Agency is not a negotiating party.”

He also rejected a Bloomberg allegation that monitoring activities have been reduced. “Iran and IAEA relations are established and continuing according to Tehran's statement,” he said. 

In response to a question about whether the arms embargo on Iran will be lifted by October 2023, Eslami said, “Yes, according to the JCPOA, the arms embargo should be lifted.”

Earlier this month, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian said collaboration between Iran and the IAEA will soon witness a significant development. 

In an interview with IRNA published on Sunday, Amir Abdollahian emphasized that throughout discussions on the restoration of the nuclear agreement and the lifting of sanctions, Tehran is communicating with Washington through a variety of channels.

Asserting that “a good development has taken place in the course of cooperation” between Iran and the UN nuclear agency, the top diplomat noted that Tehran had consistently criticized the IAEA chief’s political approach to Iran and that he had even brought up the issue in a face-to-face meeting with him.

Amir Abdollahian continued by emphasizing that President Ebrahim Raisi has made it clear that Iran is serious about cooperating with the IAEA and expects that the UN nuclear agency would carry out its obligations within legal frameworks and refrain from engaging in politics.

“The more the IAEA distances itself from a political approach and moves towards technical cooperation, the more the path for our agreements opens up,” the chief Iranian diplomat pointed out.

Abdollahian went on to highlight that Iran is committed to resolving disagreements with the IAEA through constructive and reciprocal interaction and technical cooperation, while also upholding the Strategic Action Plan to Counter Sanctions law passed by the parliament in December 2020.


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