(September 12, 2021 / JNS) International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief Rafael Grossi met with the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Mohammad Eslami on Sunday to discuss issues related to the oversight of Iran’s nuclear program.
“We had constructive negotiations. There are essentially technical issues between the two sides. We agreed to participate in the next summit and to continue our negotiations on the sidelines of the summit,” Eslami said after the meeting, referring to the upcoming IAEA General Conference (Sept. 20-24).
The meeting came after the IAEA issued two reports last week criticizing Iran for blocking IAEA inspectors’ access to its nuclear facilities.
One of the reports complained that Iran had not let the nuclear watchdog agency reset monitoring equipment and replace memory cards before they ran out, reported The Wall Street Journal.
The two sides said in a joint statement released after the meeting that the “IAEA’s inspectors are permitted to service the identified equipment and replace their storage media, which will be kept under the joint IAEA and AEOI seals in the Islamic Republic of Iran. The way and the timing are agreed by the two sides.”
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett addressed the reports at Sunday’s Cabinet meeting, warning that Iran’s nuclear program was “at its most advanced point ever.”
“These reports have given an official stamp to what we have been saying for a long time: The Iranians are advancing unhindered with their nuclear program. They are ignoring the IAEA guidelines. They are simply disrespecting it, and are trying to disguise the fact that their program was and remains a nuclear-weapons program,” he said.
“The Iranians understand that they are facing world powers that are very interested in returning to the nuclear deal at almost any cost—and I remind you, we do not believe in this agreement,” he said. “It does not provide the necessary benefit.”
However, he continued, “the Iranians are dragging things out and making progress in the meantime. According to the second report, Iran is ignoring the IAEA demands to investigate evidence that indicates the existence of a weapons program in Iran.”
“I hereby call on world powers not to be misled by the Iranian smokescreen that will lead to further concessions. There can be no giving in on the investigation of the sites, and the most important message is that time must be allotted for this,” said Bennett. “They are delaying, but a distinct and clear deadline must be set that says ‘no more.’ ”
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