0217 GMT May 09, 2021
Director general of the International Atomic Energy Organization (IAEA) met with Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad-Javad Zarif and the head of the country’s atomic energy organization, Ali-Akbar Salehi, in Tehran on Sunday as the Islamic Republic’s deadline for easing section of its nuclear obligations approaches on Tuesday.
Rafael Grossi arrived in Tehran on Saturday for talks with Iranian officials on the latest developments in Iran’s peaceful nuclear activities within the framework of the country’s ongoing plan for a phased reduction of its commitment under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), signed between the Islamic Republic and the P5+1 in July 2015, IRNA reported.
In his meeting meeting Zarif, the two sides discussed Tehran’s cooperation with the IAEA, the agency’s effort to resolve mutual issues and the two sides’ collaborations within the framework of the IAEA’s safeguards activities in Iran.
The visit by the head of the UN nuclear agency to Tehran came ahead of the expiry of a deadline which the Iranian Parliament has set for the government to further scale back compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal if the US does not lift its sanctions, Press TV reported.
Tehran is expected to cease the voluntary implementation of the Additional Protocol to the Non-Proliferation Treaty's (NPT) Safeguards Agreement, which allows the IAEA to carry out short-notice inspections in Iran.
The measure adds to Iran’s previous steps away from the nuclear deal with the world powers in response to US unilateral withdrawal from the agreement in 2018 and the other parties’ failure to fulfill their commitments.
Iran says its steps are reversible if the US practically lifts sanctions to revive the nuclear deal, but Washington remains noncommittal.
Commenting on Grossi’s visit and his meetings with Iranian officials, Iran’s permanent representative to Vienna-based international organizations, Kazem Gharibabadi, said talks between the country and the IAEA were fruitful and based on mutual respect.
He made the remarks in a Twitter post on Sunday, IRNA reported.
Talks with AEOI
Director General of the International Atomic Energy Organization (IAEA) Rafael Grossi (R) meets with Ali-Akbar Salehi, the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), in Tehran on February 21, 2021.
Earlier on Sunday, Grossi held talks with, Salehi, the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), according to Press TV.
Their talks revolved around coordinating the simultaneous implementation of the IAEA’s Safeguards Agreement and the Strategic Action Plan to Counter Sanctions, a law passed last December by the Iranian Parliament.
In a post on his Twitter account on Friday, Grossi said he would "meet with senior Iranian officials to find a mutually agreeable solution, compatible with Iranian law, so that the @iaeaorg can continue essential verification activities in Iran.”
"Looking forward to success -- this is in everybody's interest," he added.
The administration of US President Joe Biden has indicated willingness to return to the agreement, but it has been dragging its feet on taking any meaningful measure to undo the former US government's wrongs.
Commenting on Grossi’s visit a few days ago, Salehi said the IAEA chief requested for an immediate visit to Tehran and a meeting with him after Iran had announced that it would implement the sixth article of the Parliament’s Strategic Action Plan to Counter Sanctions, suspending the agency’s snap inspections of its nuclear sites, and notified the IAEA of the decision.
He added the AEOI accepted the request in view of its interactions with the IAEA.
In addition, Iranian lawmakers on Sunday once again highlighted the necessity of stopping voluntary implementation of the NPT Additional Protocol if US sanctions imposed on the Islamic Republic remain in place.
The call came in a statement issued by 226 members of the Iranian Parliament following an open session of the legislature, Press TV reported.
“All Iranian officials, including the administration officials, are duty-bound to stop voluntary implementation of the Additional Protocol as of Esfand 5, 1399 (February 23, 2021) and restrict the (International Atomic Energy) Agency’s inspections [of Iran's nuclear facilities] to those stipulated in the Safeguards Agreement if sanctions are not lifted,” they said.
The statement added that following the conclusion of the JCPOA, Western parties, including the US and three European countries — Britain, Germany and France — were expected to treat the Iranian nation with honesty and fulfill their obligations under the accord.
“Although the International Atomic Energy Agency IAEA has verified 15 times at various intervals that Iran has fully implemented its JCPOA commitments, enemies of the Iranian people have not fulfilled any of their fundamental and important obligations.”
Based on the JCPOA, sanctions on Iran’s banking and oil sectors were scheduled to be lifted in January 2016 but “unfortunately” more restrictions were imposed on the country, the lawmakers said.
They added that the process of harming the Iranian people’s interests and imposing more sanctions on Tehran under different pretexts started under the former democratic US president, Barack Obama, and culminated in the decision by former Republican president, Donald Trump, to withdraw from the JCPOA in May 2018.
Elsewhere in their statement, the Iranian legislators further noted that in order to defend the Iranian nation's nuclear rights and make enemies of the nation lift unjust sanctions, Iran finally decided to start the process of enriching uranium to 20 percent purity and also to give a two-month deadline to the US and the three European parties to the JCPOA to lift cruel sanctions.
Another part of that decision, the parliamentary statement said, was to stop voluntary implementation of the Additional Protocol based on articles 26 and 36 of the JCPOA and in line with UN Security Council Resolution 2231, if the opposite side failed to fulfill its obligations.