Tuesday, February 7, 2023

IAEA Chief Feruta in Tehran for High-Level Talks

The Acting Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Cornel Feruta is in Tehran to hold talks with top Iranian officials following the country’s latest step to reduce its commitments under the 2015 nuclear deal.

On Sunday morning, the Romanian chief of the UN’s nuclear watchdog held talks with Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI).

He will later hold separate meetings with Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and Ali Shamkhani, the Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council.

According to the IAEA, the visit is part of its “ongoing interactions” with Tehran, including “verification and monitoring in Iran under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).”

The AEOI said on Saturday that it had fired up 20 IR-4 and 20 IR-6 advanced centrifuges — a third step it has taken back from the nuclear deal in reaction to the US’ withdrawal from JCPOA and Europe’s failure to fulfil its commitments.

Behrouz Kamalvandi, the AEOI spokesman, said despite the move to expand the country’s nuclear R&D in the third step, Iran will still allow IAEA inspectors to monitor its nuclear activities.

The IAEA says its inspectors are ready to check Iran’s compliance with the 2015 deal.

“Agency inspectors are on the ground in Iran and they will report any relevant activities to IAEA headquarters in Vienna,” spokesman Fredrik Dahl said.

Feruta’s visit to Tehran comes a day before the IAEA board of governors convenes for a quarterly meeting in Vienna, at which its verification and monitoring mission in Iran will be discussed.

In its latest report on August 30, the watchdog said it was continuing to verify compliance through cameras and on-site inspections.

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