UN pushes Iran for ‘concrete’ cooperation on atomic programme

Grossi urges ‘practical and tangible measures’ to accelerate cooperation in talks in Tehran on Iran’s nuclear programme.

Mohammad Eslami, the head of Iran's atomic energy department, greets Director General of IAEA, Rafael Grossi
Iran's Mohammad Eslami greets IAEA chief Rafael Grossi before their joint news conference in Isfahan [Atta Kenare/AFP]

The head of the United Nations nuclear body has called on Iran to increase its efforts to make cooperation tangible and “concrete”.

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief Rafael Grossi urged Tehran on Tuesday to adopt “concrete” measures to foster collaboration. The UN is seeking to re-establish oversight of Iran’s atomic activities but has met various setbacks over how to implement a deal struck last year.

However, officials on both sides suggested that there is some distance between their positions.

At a news conference in the Iranian city of Isfahan, Grossi said he had proposed in talks with Iranian officials that they focus on “very practical and tangible measures that can be implemented in order to accelerate” cooperation.

“What we are looking at is concrete measures that could make this [the deal] operational,” the IAEA head said.

Mohammad Eslami, the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran insisted that the talks with Grossi had been positive and productive.

“We continue interactions over unresolved issues,” he remarked. “The important point is that Mr Grossi takes the necessary actions to settle the problems that are mainly political.”

No new deal

While both men said there would be no immediate new deal during Grossi’s visit, they pointed to a March 2023 joint statement as a path forward for cooperation.

That statement included a pledge by Iran to resolve issues around sites where inspectors have questions about possible undeclared nuclear activity, and to allow the IAEA to “implement further appropriate verification and monitoring activities”.

Iran and IAEA have often clashed over the UN agency’s task of monitoring a nuclear programme that Western nations suspect is aimed at eventually developing a nuclear weapon. Tehran denies wanting to build nuclear weapons.

Iran is enriching uranium to up to 60 percent purity, close to about 90 percent of weapons grade. If that material were enriched further, it would suffice for two nuclear weapons, according to an official IAEA yardstick. No other state has enriched to that level without using it to produce weapons.

Grossi has already warned that Tehran has enough uranium enriched to near-weapons-grade levels to make “several” nuclear bombs if it chooses to do so.

He has acknowledged the agency cannot guarantee that none of Iran’s centrifuges may have been peeled away for clandestine enrichment.

Source: News Agencies