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Thursday, March 30, 2023

Atomic Energy Agency: IAEA Director-General meets Iranian nuclear chief in Tehran

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Iran has recently increased its uranium enrichment. Most recently, traces of near-nuclear weapons grade uranium were found. IAEA boss Grossi now wants to negotiate more intensive inspections.

The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Rafael Grossi, met in Tehran with the head of the Iranian atomic energy organization AEOI Mohammed Eslami. Iranian media published photos of the two. According to Western diplomats, Grossi wanted to negotiate during his visit to Iran, among other things, more intensive IAEA inspections in nuclear plants after Tehran recently increased the enrichment of uranium more and more. Grossi will remain in Iran for the talks until Saturday.

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According to information from Tehran, in addition to the inspections, the negotiations are also about a dispute over the previously unexplained origin of traces of radioactive material at three locations in Iran. In the past, Tehran had dismissed the IAEA’s concerns as unfounded. Iran’s political leadership is demanding that differences be settled. According to observers, it is basically about normalizing relations.

The United States and Israel recently expressed concerns that Iran could use the uranium to develop and build nuclear weapons. Grossi reported on Tuesday that IAEA inspectors had found traces of uranium with a purity of almost 84 percent in a plant in Fordow. A degree of purity of around 90 percent is required for nuclear weapons. The IAEA now wants to clarify whether the high degree of enrichment was deliberately achieved or whether it was an unintended outlier, as Iranian representatives argue.

In 2015, Iran committed to restricting its nuclear program. In return, Western sanctions were lifted. The pact was intended to prevent the country from developing nuclear weapons. After the United States withdrew from the agreement in 2018 under then-President Donald Trump, Tehran reversed the restrictions. Negotiations to save the agreement are on hold. Iran has repeatedly asserted that its nuclear program is only used for civilian purposes.

Source: Stern

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