Press TV Exclusive: IAEA chief hails ‘very constructive’ talks with Iran's officials
The United Nations nuclear watchdog’s chief says he has held “very constructive” talks with Iranian officials as part of an ongoing visit to the Islamic Republic.
“We’ve been having a long day of discussions, talks, and negotiations” with Iranian officials, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Rafael Grossi told Press TV in an exclusive interview on Tuesday.
Grossi met with Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian and Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, Mohammad Eslami during his stay so far.
“We have an important number of issues we need to discuss at the technical level and we have been dealing with those,” Grossi said of the contents of the talks.
He said he was paying the visit after the two sides agreed during a trip by Grossi to Tehran in September that he should travel to the country soon to sit down with officials from Iran’s new administration.
“The relation between the Agency and Iran is a permanent one…is a continuous one,” the IAEA chief also said.
Through its latest quarterly report, the Agency affirmed conducting its routine regulatory checks of Iran’s nuclear energy program.
The IAEA chief was questioned about its position on the Israeli regime’s possession of a nuclear arsenal and the regime’s simultaneous refusal to subscribe to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
Asked whether the Agency was subjecting Iran to “prejudicial treatment” by consistently turning up the heat on the Islamic Republic, but refusing to adopt the same approach towards the Israeli regime, he denied that the Agency had ever taken a political stance towards the Islamic Republic.
Grossi, however, condemned refusal by certain parties across the world to accede to the NPT, calling participation in the treaty “very important.”
The director-general was also asked about the issue of the United States’ own nuclear weapons program as well as Washington’s 2018 withdrawal from the nuclear agreement between Iran and others, and its re-introduction of its sanctions against the Islamic Republic.
The IAEA’s mandate is a “non-proliferation mandate not a disarmament mandate,” he said, and considered holding the US responsible for its violations of the nuclear accord to be outside the Agency’s jurisdiction.
“The Agency does not have or did not have competences in terms of the political decision of a country to remain or to withdraw from the agreement,” he said.
“So, in that regard, what we continued to do was to verify compliance or lack thereof of the provisions of the nuclear aspects of the JCPOA. And this is what we continue to do,” he added, referring to the deal by the acronym of its official name, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
“IAEA cannot be a party to solution of the sanctions problem. This is a political issue that needs to be solved between the United States and Iran, and I hope they would be able to do that.”