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On March 5th, 2022, the general director of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) met Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian and Mohammad Eslami, the nuclear chief in Tehran.

Grossi arrived in Tehran late on Friday to discuss one of the last thorny issues blocking revival of the pact, which in return for a lifting of economic sanctions limited Iran’s enrichment of uranium, making it harder for Tehran to develop material for nuclear weapons.

A major talking point was IAEA safeguards probes, including into several sites where undeclared radioactive materials were found several years ago. The IAEA director told that even as safeguards issues and the JCPOA run parallel to each other, they are closely interrelated. The IAEA has been pressing Tehran for several years for explanations regarding indications that nuclear material was previously present at four different locations in Iran.

It would be difficult to imagine that such an important return to such a comprehensive agreement like JCPOA would be possible if the agency and Iran would not see eye-to-eye on how to resolve these important safeguards issues” Grossi said. Grossi and Eslami signaled an understanding has been reached on mutual cooperation.

Diplomats from Britain, China, France, Germany, Iran and Russia restarted talks in late November 2021, to revive JCPOA and the US has been taking part indirectly. The accord began disintegrating when former US President Trump withdrew from it 2018 and re-imposed sanctions on Iran.

Grossi said after talks with the iranian foreign minister, before returning to Vienna that “There are still matters that need to be addressed by Iran“.

We decided to try a practical, pragmatic approach to these issues (the pending issues) in order to allow our technical experts to look into them in a systematic way, in a deep way, in a thorough way“. “But also with a sense of conclusion, with the intention to come to a point where we have an agreed outcome” Grossi said.

On Friday, the chief negotiators of France, Germany, and the United Kingdom went back to their capitals to keep their foreign ministers abreast of the latest developments in preparation for a final announcement. Iran’s chief negotiator, Ali Bagheri Kani, stayed in Vienna to continue holding talks with his counterparts from Russia and China.

Hossein Amirabdollahian told on Friday to the European Union’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell that he will go to Vienna to sign an agreement soon if all of Iran’s red lines are considered.

Grossi’s visit to Tehran is seen as a major push to sort out the last differences in the Austrian capital, which has hosted numerous rounds of talks to remedy the 2015 deal. Both Grossi and the Iranian atomic chief have described their meeting as fruitful and this could mean that another roadblock has been removed from the way of the Vienna talks.



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