Talks between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) have restarted over a probe into nuclear material found at nuclear sites in Iran, which has been at the centre of the stall in efforts to restore the country’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers.
“Dialogue has restarted with Iran on clarification of outstanding safeguards issues,” tweeted Rafael Grossi, the director general of the global atomic watchdog late on Monday.
Grossi had met with Iran’s nuclear chief Mohammad Eslami in Vienna earlier on Monday following the General Conference of the agency, where both men delivered speeches.
Neither side divulged details of the talks or signalled a possible Grossi visit to Tehran. The IAEA head has visited several times in the past few years to resolve time-sensitive issues.
The central issue of the talks is a probe into traces of man-made nuclear particles found years ago at several Iranian sites, for which the agency maintains Iran has not provided a sufficient explanation.
Iran, on the other hand, has demanded that the safeguards probe be closed before Tehran and world powers can reach an agreement on restoring the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), as the nuclear deal is formally known.
“I would like to clarify that there are no undeclared activities or nuclear particles in Iran, and all allegations are strictly based on fabricated and false information by the occupying regime of Israel,” the Iranian nuclear chief told the IAEA conference.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran truly expects the agency to carry out its reporting, monitoring and verification in a more professional, unbiased and independent manner.”
Grossi, however, reiterated to the conference that the agency’s monitoring capabilities have been significantly hampered after Iran restricted them in reaction to the 2018 unilateral withdrawal of the United States from the nuclear deal, and attacks on Iranian nuclear sites thought to have been carried out by Israel.
“We need to find common solutions for problems that are not going to go away if we don’t solve them in a collaborative fashion,” the agency director said about the safeguards probe.