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IAEA Director Urges US-Iranian Talks

IAEA Director Urges US-Iranian Talks

Wednesday, 17 March, 2021 - 08:00
International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Rafael Grossi and his team during a videoconference meeting with the European Parliament (IAEA)

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Rafael Grossi has pushed towards US-Iranian talks.

Grossi said Tuesday that “it takes two to tango” when asked about Iran’s insistence that the US make the first step on returning to the 2015 nuclear deal.

Washington pulled out of the deal unilaterally in 2018 under then-President Donald Trump.

US President Joe Biden seeks to rejoin the deal, but each side – Tehran and Washington – is awaiting the other to take the initiative and return to the commitment.

Grossi noted that over the past two years Iran has accumulated a lot of nuclear material and new capacities and used the time for “honing their skills in these areas.”

“They want to come back,” he said. “But of course, there are a number of issues that still need to be clarified. So, it’s not impossible. It is difficult, but not impossible.”

Earlier, Europeans have withdrawn their support for a US-backed plan for the IAEA’s board to criticize Iran for curtailing its cooperation with the agency.

Iran has agreed to meet with international experts investigating the discovery of uranium particles at several undeclared sites.

A week earlier, State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters that the US “will not offer any unilateral gestures or incentives to induce the Iranians to come to the table.”

“If the Iranians are under the impression that, absent any movement on their part to resume full compliance with the (nuclear deal), that we will offer favors or unilateral gestures, well that's a misimpression.”

On Wednesday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the ball is in Iran's court to revive diplomacy, but earlier he said Washington will not offer sanctions relief in exchange for talks.

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