The head of the United Nations’ International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is visiting Iran this weekend for talks, despite the agency’s worries that the country has not cooperated with an inquiry into past nuclear activity.
Rafael Grossi, the IAEA’s inspector chief, is due to meet with Mohammad Eslami, Iran’s vice president and head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, on Sunday, IAEA spokesperson Fredrik Dahl (AEOI) told the Hill.
Grossi will hold a press conference from the Vienna airport following the meeting, according to Dahl.
The planned talks, first reported by Reuters on Saturday, come days after the news agency reported that the IAEA had not made progress in explaining traces of uranium at several undeclared sites, and that it had difficulty gaining access to monitoring equipment to track Iran’s nuclear activity, according to two recent reports.
“The Agency’s confidence in its ability to retain continuity of information is eroding over time and has now much further declined,” according to one of the assessments, according to Reuters.
Since the collapse of the 2015 nuclear agreement, from which former President Trump withdrew the US in 2018, Iran has proceeded to enrich uranium.
Iran has increased its uranium enrichment to 60% purity, closer to the 90% required to produce nuclear weapons, according to an IAEA report released last month, while Iran has maintained that its nuclear programme is only for peaceful purposes as it attempts to develop reactor fuel.
Since hardline Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi took office last month, indirect talks between the US and Iran on a possible revision of a deal have stopped.
Last weekend, Raisi stated that Iran was willing to resume nuclear discussions, but only if there was no “pressure” from the United States or other Western countries.
According to Reuters, the incoming president stated at the time “Talks are on the agenda … We are seeking goal-oriented negotiations … so unjust sanctions on the Iranian people are lifted … and their lives can flourish.”
The United States has maintained its pressure on Iran to halt its nuclear development, while Iran has demanded that sanctions be lifted before any adjustments or renegotiations to the Obama-era nuclear deal can take place.