‘Situation difficult’: IAEA chief says cooperation with Iran not satisfactory

ISTANBUL (AA ): International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief Rafael Grossi Friday said the nuclear watchdog’s cooperation with Iran was not satisfactory.

The IAEA’s “cooperation with Iran continues but not at the level that I would like it to be,” Grossi told a news conference in Tokyo, where the IAEA is overseeing the release of treated nuclear waste from Japan’s crippled Fukushima power plant.

“I have told this to my Iranian counterparts,” he added.

The news conference was held at Japan’s National Press Club, with many journalists joining online. The question was asked in Japanese.

Grossi called the situation regarding Iran’s frozen nuclear deal “difficult.”

“The situation is difficult … JCPOA efforts have stalled at the moment … so there is not much on going there,” the IAEA chief noted.

The 2015 Iran nuclear deal is officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

Recalling his March trip to Iran, the IAEA chief said the two sides have “a number of pending issues.”

He said he had agreed on a “joint statement and some activities that we needed to do” with his Iranian counterparts.

“And the implementation of this agreement has been extremely slow. So, I am trying to speed things up, in order to avoid a regain of tension in that part of the world,” said Grossi, in response to a question.

Grossi visited the Iranian capital in March to resolve issues that have hampered cooperation between the two sides and efforts to revive the 2015 nuclear deal.

During the much-publicized visit, Iran and the IAEA agreed to enhance cooperation and clarify issues related to Iran’s nuclear activities, including reports about nearly 84% uranium enrichment.

During the trip, the IAEA chief met Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi.

During the meeting, Grossi was quoted as saying that “ill-wishers” are not in favor of bilateral cooperation between the IAEA and Iran, without elaborating.

In a Twitter post after their meeting, the Iranian president’s deputy chief of staff, Mohammad Jamshid, said Grossi “expressed satisfaction with a common agenda reached to pave the way for cooperation.”