Saturday, March 25, 2023

UN nuclear watchdog urges Iran to comply with surveillance

VIENNA ( Associated Press) – The head of the UN’s nuclear watchdog on Monday urged Iran to cooperate with its inspectors amid a stalemate over its nuclear program and Western threats to condemn Tehran for its non-cooperation.

“We have to recognize that we have not been able to achieve the expected results,” Rafael Mariano Grossi, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, told reporters in Vienna.

“This will be a reminder to Iran, and to us, and to everyone, that we really need to work and clarify these issues that have been pending for too long,” Grossi said.

Grossi spoke during the first day of a meeting of the IAEA’s board of directors in Vienna, which runs through Friday.

The meeting is taking place at a tense time for the future of talks on Iran’s nuclear program. Iran has limited IAEA surveillance activities for more than a year, and failed to provide Grossi with “credible information” about nuclear material discovered at three Iranian sites.

Additionally, talks between senior diplomats from Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia discussed bringing Tehran back into compliance with the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Action Plan that was stalled earlier this year. The agreement eased sanctions on Iran in exchange for curbs on its nuclear program.

The United States pulled out of the deal under former President Donald Trump and imposed sanctions on Iran, prompting Tehran to restart its uranium enrichment.

Grossi said he was not for or against a possible vote to condemn Iran during this week’s meeting, stressing the importance of continued cooperation with Iran despite recent tensions.

“I believe it is not in anyone’s interest that the cooperation between the agency and Iran be reduced even further,” he said.

Still, without adequate cooperation on the part of Iran, there is a “stalemate” between the agency and Iran’s leadership, Grossi said. “These issues will not go away – they are not resolved, they are not clarified.”

Grossi reiterated his warnings that Iran is close to the amount of nuclear material needed to make the bomb, saying on Monday he is “very, very close” to obtaining a “significant amount” of this material.

He said that Iran could reach this amount in a few weeks. Still, he insisted that having enough material to bomb and making a bomb are two different things.

As of February 19, the IAEA says that Iran’s reserves of all-enriched uranium were about 3,200 kilograms (7,055 lb). Some have been enriched to 60% purity – a small technical step up from weapons-grade levels of 90%. Meanwhile, Iran has blocked the IAEA from accessing its surveillance camera footage.

While Iran insists that its program is peaceful, the IAEA and Western governments maintain that Iran had an organized military nuclear program until 2003.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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