Call on IAEA to Change Approach for Settling Outstanding Issues

Call on IAEA to Change Approach for Settling Outstanding Issues
Call on IAEA to Change Approach for Settling Outstanding Issues

The International Atomic Energy Agency is expected to change its current approach to help promote the required cooperation for reaching a common outcome on the outstanding safeguards issues, an Iranian lawmaker said. 
“Iran has allowed the agency the most extensive inspection and monitoring, but the agency’s questions keep increasing,” Abolfazl Amoui, spokesman for the Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, told ICANA. 
He was referring to the IAEA investigations into nuclear material that it claims have been found at three old undeclared sites in Iran. 
Iran dismisses the accusation, saying the questions are based on fabricated intelligence, particularly provided by the Islamic Republic’s arch foe Israel. 
It also maintains that the issue looks into a case that had already been closed before the signing of the 2015 nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. 
Based on an agreement in March 2022, Iran provided explanations to the agency, but the director general dismissed them as uncredible, which led to the passing of a resolution against the country by the Board of Governors in June. 
The board passed another motion in November, urging Tehran to cooperate with the agency on clarifying the uranium particles. 
“Iran has always criticized the IAEA’s secretariat and its director general who, instead of focusing on technical measures and adopting an impartial approach, fall under the influence of political disinformation,” Amoui said. 
He specifically highlighted a trip by Director General Rafael Grossi to Israel in the midst of negotiations between Iran and the agency on the safeguards issues. 
“Iran has always emphasized that if the agency adopts a technical and non-political approach, reaching an agreement with Iran is not impossible,” he said, adding that the Islamic Republic has expressed readiness to present explanations, cooperate with the agency to create normal conditions for IAEA accesses. 
Experts from the agency visited Tehran last week to discuss the issues and a trip by Grossi is set to be arranged after the New Year holidays. 
While Iranian officials hope that the upcoming negotiations would help conclude the case for good, the US and Israel appear to be lobbying to disrupt this course. 
Asked if such interventions and threats can pose an obstacle to the settlement of the safeguards issues, Amoui said “that would depend on the IAEA’s secretariat.”
The outstanding safeguards issues are also a key blocking stone in talks to revive the 2015 nuclear deal. 
The JCPOA curbed Iran’s nuclear program in return for sanctions relief, but the US withdrew in 2018 and reimposed sweeping sanctions that prompted Tehran to react by rowing back on its commitments. 
Negotiations have been underway since early 2021 to resurrect the deal, but have been stalled for months now over final differences, including the safeguards issue. 
Tehran demands the closure of the investigation as a prerequisite to an agreement on the JCPOA, arguing that it would provide an excuse for reimposition of pressure on Iran in the future.
Iran has also asked for strong guarantees from Washington that it would not violate the deal again under a new administration. 

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