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Iran says ‘ready to cooperate’ with UN nuclear watchdog

1. Iran Nuclear Deal
Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency Rafael Grossi (center), attends a meeting at the agency’s headquarters in Vienna, Austria on September 12, 2022. (Photo: AFP)

TEHRAN — Iran reaffirmed Monday its “readiness” to cooperate with the UN nuclear watchdog, after the agency said in a report it “cannot assure” the peaceful nature of Tehran’s nuclear program.اضافة اعلان

The finding last week by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) further complicated diplomatic efforts to revive a landmark 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and major powers, including the US.

Iran is “ready to cooperate with the agency to clear up the false and unrealistic perceptions regarding its peaceful nuclear activities”, foreign ministry spokesman Nasser Kanani said in a press conference.

Tehran declares its “readiness to continue constructive cooperation with the IAEA”, Kanani added, also pointing to the agency’s “obligations”.

IAEA director general Rafael Grossi said he hoped that Iran would start cooperating “as soon as possible”.

“We are ready, we want this to happen, we are not in the business of aggravating or creating situations, we just want this issue to be clarified,” Grossi told reporters after opening the IAEA’s board of governors meeting.

“This is very straightforward. We found traces of uranium in places that were never declared, that were never supposed to have any nuclear activity, and we are asking questions.”

In its report last Wednesday, the IAEA said it was “not in a position to provide assurance that Iran’s nuclear program is exclusively peaceful”.

The IAEA has been pressing Iran for answers on the previous presence of traces of nuclear material at three undeclared sites. The issue led to a resolution criticizing Iran being passed at the June meeting of the IAEA’s board of governors.

Tehran, which has consistently denied seeking nuclear weapons, responded to the resolution by disconnecting 27 cameras allowing the agency to monitor some of its nuclear activities.

Kanani said no resolution was expected during this week’s meeting, but warned that any further “unconstructive action” by the agency “will again have unconstructive results”.

Tehran has demanded that the IAEA’s probe be concluded as part of any deal — one of the sticking points in the talks to restore the 2015 agreement that gave Iran much-needed relief from sanctions in return for curbs on its nuclear program.

The US unilaterally withdrew from the deal in 2018 under then-president Donald Trump, reimposing biting economic sanctions that prompted Iran to begin rolling back on its own commitments.

Last month, the EU put forward a “final” draft of the agreement to lift sanctions on Tehran once again and push Iran to fully comply with its obligations.

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