The director of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Rafael Grossi, made a rare criticism of Western countries for not "adequately" supporting the work of the UN agency in Iran.
In a press conference at the Agency's headquarters in Vienna, Grossi said that despite Iran's continued lack of cooperation with international inspectors, the member states' behavior in dealing with the issue is "concerning" because the outstanding issues with Iran are still unresolved.
Grossi called on Western countries within the Board of Governors to continue supporting the Agency, adding that its work is based on the support it receives and that it would continue to report the developments, but there is a decline in interest in matters that still require priority.
Grossi informed the Board of Governors, consisting of 35 countries, including the US and the three European countries negotiating with Iran over its nuclear program, that there had been no progress in Tehran's cooperation since the last June report.
He pointed out that Iran did not fulfill the pledges it made following an agreement last March and that everything has stayed the same.
Iran had pledged in an agreement with the Agency to provide technically credible explanations for the presence of uranium particles of anthropogenic origin at its facilities and reinstall surveillance cameras.
Two and a half years ago, Iran switched off the surveillance cameras in nuclear facilities and prevented the Agency from accessing the recorded tapes after it suspended the work of the Additional Protocol of the Treaty on the Nuclear Non-Proliferation of Weapons.
Grossi said in his press conference in Vienna on Monday that the Agency does not have confirmations about the source of traces of uranium and cannot provide assurance that Iran's nuclear program is exclusively peaceful.
IAEA was "not accusing [Iran] of anything" but asking questions so that "everything is accounted for," he said.
"There are the traces; therefore, there was nuclear material. Where is the nuclear material?"
He told an IAEA board meeting that Iran "still needs to provide the agency with technically credible explanations" for the presence of uranium at two sites, Varamin and Turquzabad.
Western countries have avoided a new escalation within the Board of Governors since the beginning of the year. The US is acting cautiously within the Council and trying to prevent escalation before concluding a bilateral deal with Iran to release detained US prisoners in exchange for freeing Iranian funds abroad.
Grossi pointed out that the Agency is "far" from agreeing with Iran regarding surveillance cameras and obtaining tapes of previous recordings, without which he said it was impossible to build a clear picture of Iran's nuclear program.
Grossi's discussion of the bilateral agreement between the US and Iran echoed recent statements of European officials who told Asharq Al-Awsat that they were aware of the negotiations but did not know the details.
A European diplomat, who spoke to Asharq Al-Awsat before the announcement of the agreement, questioned whether it was wise to conduct bilateral negotiations outside the official negotiating framework with Iran. It is represented by the P5+1 group, which includes the US, Germany, France, Britain, Russia, and China.