IAEA to strengthen co-op with Iran - Rafael Grossi

Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Rafael Grossi expressed a desire to strengthen cooperation with Iran at a higher level, News.az reports.

Grossi noted that currently efforts on the Agreement on guarantees to the member countries of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) are frozen, and there is no special progress.

Cooperation with Iran continues, but not at the level that he would like to see. The IAEA director general pointed out that he had expressed the corresponding position to the Iranian side.

He recalled visiting Iran in March, to reach a joint statement agreements on some issues. However, the implementation of these agreements is progressing very slowly.

Grossi noted that the IAEA is making efforts to accelerate the implementation of the agreements in order to prevent the escalation of tension in this region of the world.

Recently, Iran and the US have been engaging in indirect negotiations facilitated by Oman, addressing confidence-building measures, including a potential prisoner exchange between the two countries. Additionally, Iran is currently in ongoing discussions with three European nations (the UK, France, and Germany) regarding its nuclear program.

During these discussions, Iran's primary objective is to secure the lifting of sanctions imposed by the US and Western countries, unfreezing of its foreign funds, and removal of restrictions on crude oil exports. In return, the US and Western countries seek assurances that Iran will not pursue nuclear weapons, maintain control over its nuclear program, and decrease uranium enrichment levels.

While Iran asserts that its nuclear program is solely for peaceful purposes, it is required to provide substantiated evidence and guarantees at the international level to support its claim.

On January 2016, JCPOA was launched between Iran and the P5+1 group (US, Russia, China, UK, France, and Germany) in connection with Iran's nuclear program. In May 2018, the US announced its withdrawal from the deal and imposed sanctions on Iran in November of the same year. To preserve the agreements reached as part of the JCPOA, the European signatories of the deal started in January 2019 that a financial mechanism for maintaining trade with Iran called INSTEX was formed.

On May 8, 2019, Iran announced that it had ceased fulfilling its commitments regarding the sale of over 300 kilograms of uranium, as stated in the deal, basing its decision on the other signatories that have not fulfilled their obligations. On July 7, Iran announced that it would not be fulfilling its commitments regarding the enrichment of uranium at 3.67 percent and the reconstruction of the Arak Heavy Water Reactor Facility as stated in the deal.

Iran announced that it will enrich uranium using next-generation centrifuges and will not mix it with the enriched uranium residues as part of the third step of reducing commitments in JCPOA on Sept.5. On Nov. 5, 2019, Iran announced that it had taken the fourth step in connection with reducing its commitments to the nuclear agreement. So, uranium gas is being pumped to the centrifuges at the Fordow Fuel Enrichment Plant.

On Jan.2020, Iran took the last fifth step in reducing the number of its commitments within the JCPOA.

On May 8, 2018, the US announced its withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) between Iran and the 5+1 group (Russia, China, the UK, France, the US, and Germany), and imposed new sanctions against Iran as of November 2018.

Over the past period, the sanctions affected Iranian oil exports, ranging from over 700 banks, companies, to individuals. The sanctions have resulted in the freezing of Iranian assets abroad.

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