Sunday, May 19, 2024

The IAEA chief of Iran – great concern about the country’s increasing nuclear activity


The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Rafael Grossi, is in Iran to discuss the country’s controversial nuclear program. Photo: Eugene Hoshiko / AP / NTB

Of NTB | 06.05.2024 10:24:29

Policy: The visit takes place at the same time as regional tensions increase. The UN agency has repeatedly criticized Iran for its lack of cooperation on inspections and other key issues about its nuclear program.

It is expected that Grossi will give a speech at Iran’s first international conference on nuclear science and technology, as well as that he will meet several Iranian officials, including Iran’s nuclear chief Mohammad Eslami.

Eslami said on Wednesday that he believed the negotiations with the IAEA would strengthen Iran’s relationship with the UN agency and help clear up outstanding issues.

In recent years, Iran has disabled the IAEA’s monitoring equipment at nuclear facilities in the country and blocked UN inspectors from accessing them, according to the agency itself. It happened after the US unilaterally withdrew from the nuclear agreement with Iran in 2015 and implemented a series of comprehensive sanctions against the country.

Last year, Iran slowed the pace of uranium enrichment, which was seen as a positive sign as informal talks began with the United States. But the UN agency has since said Iran increased production of 60 percent enriched uranium by the end of 2023.

Iran, for its part, has consistently denied that it has any ambitions to develop nuclear weapons, and insists that its nuclear activities are entirely peaceful.

However, a confidential IAEA report from February, seen by AFP, estimated that Iran’s stockpile of enriched uranium has reached 27 times the limit set in the 2015 deal.

According to the IAEA and Iranian officials, no one was injured in the attack on the area, which was seen as Israel’s response to an Iranian attack on Israel a few days earlier. The Iranian attack on Israel was the country’s first direct attack on its arch-enemy, and was also a retaliatory strike for a deadly attack on Iran’s consulate in Damascus, Syria.

The last time Grossi visited Iran was in March 2023, when he met the country’s president Ebrahim Raisi and several other high-ranking officials.

EU diplomats have since repeatedly tried to get the US back to the negotiating table and Iran to abide by the terms of the original deal.

Grossi’s three-day visit, which begins Monday, is taking place in Iran’s Isfahan province, where the Natanz plant is located. The facility is used to enrich uranium, and the area where the facility is located was the scene of the attacks from Israel at the end of April.

(© NTB)


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