Dec 15, 2022, 12:15 PM
IAEA's New chance for moving ahead

TEHRAN, Dec. 15 (MNA) – A delegation of the UN nuclear watchdog will travel to Tehran in the coming days amid heightened tensions between Iran and the West over a range of issues.

But the visit of the officials of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) presents a new opportunity for the West to move past misunderstandings over the quality of Iran’s cooperation with the IAEA and demonstrate its genuine will to conclude talks in Vienna over reviving the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

Differences between Iran and the IAEA center around the alleged nuclear material the IAEA says it found at three Iranian sites. Iran has said it gave answers to the IAEA’s questions regarding the matter, but the UN nuclear watchdog says the answers were not technically credible. 

Iranian officials have said that the IAEA probe into the sites is politically-motivated and designed to exert pressure on Iran with the aim of extracting concessions in the Vienna talks. Iran has reportedly demanded that the IAEA close the probe in parallel with the talks over the JCPOA. In the past few months, talks between Iran and the IAEA have been at a standstill simultaneously with a hiatus in the JCPOA talks. 

But the situation is seemingly improving. 

Mohammad Eslami, the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), said Wednesday that Iran is in contact with the IAEA.

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the cabinet session, Eslami said, “Our interactions with the Agency are underway and we hope a step forward be taken in the direction of addressing ambiguities and obstacles with the Agency.”
He also expressed hope that the upcoming visit of the International Atomic Energy officials to Tehran in the coming days can help resolve issues with the agency.

The visit, if successful, would pave the way for a deal on the tattered JCPOA. Iran has said that it is ready for a strong and fair deal. “We are on the way to the final stage of a good, strong & durable agreement,” Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said on Twitter after a phone conversation with EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell. 

The two sides discussed the latest situation of sanctions removal talks and cooperation between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency.

In this conversation, Borrell highlighted his efforts to get all sides to return to the commitments undertaken in Vienna, saying he will continue his efforts and contacts toward facilitating the achievement of an agreement.

On Wednesday, China said Iran has recently shown goodwill on some outstanding issues and called on the West to seize the opportunity. 

“Negotiations on resuming compliance with the JCPOA face serious complexities, but there is still hope to reach an agreement. All parties need to stay committed to dialogue and negotiation and step up diplomatic efforts to bring the JCPOA back on track as soon as possible. Iran has recently shown goodwill and flexibility on some outstanding issues of the negotiations,” Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin said at a press conference. 
He added, “The US needs to respond to that positively and find ways to work with Iran for the negotiations to achieve early results. In the meantime, the other parties also need to work together and take positive and constructive steps to create a favorable atmosphere for the negotiations. To tie the Iranian nuclear issue with other issues or tighten sanctions and pressure on Iran unilaterally will only lead the negotiations to a dead end and even? undo? previous diplomatic efforts.”

The spokesperson said, “China supports the EU in playing a more active mediating role for the negotiations to resume and an agreement to be reached at an early date. China will continue to work with parties concerned to contribute to the political and diplomatic solution to the Iranian nuclear issue, uphold the international nuclear nonproliferation?regime?and safeguard peace and stability in the Middle East.”

By Mehran Shamsuddin

First published in Tehran Times

News Code 194967


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