The head of the United Nations Atomic Energy Agency said Tuesday that he is “extremely concerned” about Iran’s lack of cooperation as the EU seeks to restart talks to resurrect the 2015 nuclear deal.
Negotiations between world powers and Iran have been stalled since mid-March, with negotiators seeking to return to the landmark agreement that limited the Islamic republic’s nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.
Iran announced Monday that EU diplomat Enrique Mora, who chairs the negotiations, will visit Tehran this week, as the US, which is seeking to return to the deal it unilaterally left in 2018, expressed optimism for progress.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is “trying to clarify a number of still open matters with Iran”, agency head Rafael Grossi told a European Parliament committee.
“I am referring to the fact that we, in the last few months, were able to identify traces of enriched uranium in places that had never been declared by Iran as places where any activity was taking place,” he said.
“The situation does not look very good. Iran, for the time being, has not been forthcoming in the kind of information we need from them… We are extremely concerned about this,” he said.
The IAEA and Iran announced in March that they had agreed an approach for resolving issues crucial to reviving the 2015 nuclear accord.
At the time, Grossi said the UN agency and Iran had “decided to try a practical, pragmatic approach” to overcome “a number of important matters”.
The aim is to settle outstanding questions that the IAEA has about the past presence of nuclear material at undeclared sites in Iran.
Iran “should be at the top of our preoccupations in spite of the drama that is unfolding in Ukraine,” Grossi said on Tuesday, referring to Russia’s invasion of its neighbor.
He stated that talks to resurrect the nuclear deal were “on hold,” but the Vienna-based IAEA was “of course still hopeful that some agreement will be reached within a reasonable timeframe.”
“Although we have to recognize that the window of opportunity could be closed anytime,” he added.