UN nuclear watchdog chief Rafael Grossi on Monday expressed “concern” towards not receiving answers or any promises regarding cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to detect traces of uranium at three Iranian sites.
Despite being small in nature, the results of Grossi’s visit to Tehran were enough to push Western countries to scrap plans for a resolution criticizing Iran.
In a press conference, Grossi reaffirmed that he will move forward in resolving problems with the new Iranian government under President Ebrahim Raisi, which he described as a “hardline” administration in its dealing with the nuclear deal and policy of cooperation with the IAEA.
Despite this, Grossi said he is determined to hold a dialogue with the new government to find solutions for unresolved issues.
“From day one, my approach to Iran has been firm and fair,” said Grossi, who had traveled to Tehran over the weekend.
Upon his return, Grossi announced that communication had been re-established with Iran, and that Tehran had agreed to allow IAEA inspectors to replace the batteries and memory cards of the surveillance cameras inside its nuclear facilities.
“This agreement cannot be permanent,” said Grossi, explaining that the arrangement filled some gaps and allowed an opportunity for diplomacy.
“Iran played its cards well,” one Vienna-based diplomat told Reuters of the weekend agreement.
“The promise to continue high-level discussions on the outstanding issues managed to deflate the pressure for a resolution, even if what Grossi brought back from Tehran was pitifully little.”
For his part, Grossi confirmed he will meet with the chief of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, Mohammad Eslami, next week.
The meeting will take place on the sidelines of the IAEA’s annual general assembly and will aim to complete talks Grossi started in Tehran.