Watchdog chief says Iran talks are ‘tense’ as nuclear deal negotiations to resume

Iran carries out annual military exercises

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Rafael Grossi, director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, visited Tehran on Tuesday. Mr Grossi said after the meeting: “We agreed to continue our joint work on the clarification of a number of issues… We also agreed to continue and deepen the dialogue with the government of Iran.”

He spoke at a joint press conference with the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, Mohammad Eslami.

The conversations have taken place prior to the revival of Iran nuclear deal negotiations in Vienna at the end of the month.

Suggesting that diplomacy is succeeding in the build-up to the resumption of talks, Mr Grossi said: “As you know, I have the honour to meet the Iranian foreign minister in a couple of hours.”

However, he noted that the talks had been “tense” throughout.

The International Atomic Energy Agency, or IAEA, is the world’s centre for cooperation in the nuclear field and seeks to promote the safe, secure and peaceful use of nuclear technologies.

Speaking of the important role the IAEA play in the monitoring and control of Iran’s nuclear programme, Mr Grossi said: “We are continuing our negotiations at this point with the view of finding common grounds.”

He continued by saying efforts will be ramped up to come to an agreed conclusion, adding: “There are a number of issues that we are working on.

“We will multiply our efforts with the view of concluding our exchanges today on a positive note. We are working very hard.”

Mr Eslami said: “Iran is determined to pursue its civilian nuclear activities, stressing that Tehran’s nuclear activities are in full compliance with international regulations and treaties.”

He added: “What is of paramount importance is that Iran is strong-minded to pursue its nuclear program. Utilization of all aspects of nuclear technology is high on our agenda and the IAEA will provide assistance in this regard.”

With a population in excess of 80 million people, Iran is looking to improve its energy supplies across the nation following recent blackouts and water shortages.

Mr Eslami said Iran intends to generate at least 10,000 megawatts of nuclear power, especially by means of small power plants with a maximum production capacity of 300 megawatts.

The Iranian official added that the IAEA will encourage and support countries that possess relevant technology and industries to help Iran boost its nuclear power generation, as in accordance with the Non-Proliferation Treaty, or NPT.

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Prior to the arrival of the IAEA boss, the Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman called on the organisation to not allow certain countries to abuse its name for the sake of achieving their own political objectives.

In his weekly press conference at the ministry, Saeed Khatibzadeh said: “We have always advised the agency to remain on the path of technical cooperation, and not to allow some countries to advance their political agendas and political objectives using the name of the agency.”

The spokesman added: “I hope this trip would be constructive like the previous ones.”

Regional nations have raised concerns that Iran is seeking to build a nuclear weapon.

Tehran has vehemently denied the allegation and insists that its programme is solely for peaceful civilian purposes.

Iran accuses Israel of attempting to destabilize the Iran nuclear talks, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPOA, and has pointed the finger at Tel Aviv for a string of alleged attacks on Iranian scientists and nuclear facilities.

Following the assassination of scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, Tehran demanded the United Nations Security Council condemn the killing and take action against those responsible.

Agnes Callamard, UN investigator on extra-judicial executions, said that many questions surrounded the killing of Mr Fakhrizadeh.

Speaking on Twitter following the assassination, she said the act was: “A violation of international human rights law prohibiting the arbitrary deprivation of life and a violation of the UN Charter prohibiting the use of force extraterritorially in times of peace.”

Talks between Iran and the P4+1, and indirectly with the US, are due to restart on November 29.

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