IAEA chief: Pause in nuclear talks leaves us in 'uncomfortable position'

IAEA chief speaks out against pause in talks with Iran on a return to the 2015 nuclear deal.

Elad Benari ,

Rafael Grossi
Rafael Grossi
Reuters

A pause in negotiations to salvage Iran's nuclear deal with world powers has placed the International Atomic Energy Agency in an "uncomfortable position," its chief told AFP on Monday.

"We still have a number of questions, issues that we are trying to clarify with Iran, and we will have to wait and start anew with the new team when they are in office," IAEA director general Rafael Grossi told the news agency in an interview in Rio de Janeiro during an official visit to Brazil.

Grossi’s comments came after the spokesman of Iran’s Foreign Ministry announced that talks in Vienna on renewing the 2015 deal will not resume before a new government takes office in August, following presidential elections last month won by Ebrahim Raisi.

The announcement that the process would be resumed only after Raisi takes over "leaves us in a rather uncomfortable situation," Grossi told AFP.

"I'm talking about the agency, I don't know about the others, but I suppose they would rather be negotiating than waiting," he added.

Iran has gradually scaled back its compliance with the 2015 deal in response to former US President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the agreement in 2018, but has been holding indirect talks with the Biden administration on a return to the agreement.

Iran has insisted on a removal of all sanctions imposed on it, while the Biden administration has insisted that some will remain if they were imposed over other concerns, including human rights and Iran's support for extremist movements.

US State Department spokesman Ned Price said last week that the United States will not impose a deadline on a seventh round of talks with Iran, adding that Tehran can determine when talks will resume.



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