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IAEA chief Grossi to ease Iran-West stand-off on nuclear deal

IAEA chief will fly to Tehran over the weekend to hold talks over Iran-West stand-off on nuclear deal after IAEA critical report which highlighted Iran's shady nuclear activities and the resistance provided by new hardliner government to revive JCPOA.

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IAEA chief will fly to Tehran to ease Iran and West stand-off over nuclear deal after the UN nuclear watchdog released a critical report on 7th September that gave alarming notices of Iran breaching the nuclear deal through increased uranium enrichment and not disclosing its nuclear equipment sites. In encapsulation, the IAEA 7th September critical report highlighted that Iran under Ebrahim Raisi presidency is not cooperating with the watchdog over nuclear compliance. This triggered the Iran-West stand-off making the revival of the nuclear deal difficult.

Talks underway to ease Iran-West standoff over nuclear deal

U.N. nuclear watchdog chief Rafael Grossi aims to fly to Tehran this weekend for talks that may ease the Iran-West stand-off over nuclear deal as it is a major impediment over the revival of Iran nuclear deal.

Three diplomats who follow the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) closely said Grossi’s trip before next week’s meeting of the IAEA’s 35-nation board of governors was confirmed.

One said Grossi would arrive in Tehran early on Sunday and meet the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran.

The US special envoy on Iran, Rob Malley, will meet diplomats from France, Germany and the UK in Paris ahead of a board meeting of the IAEA, the UN’s nuclear watchdog, on Monday.

Read more: US Iran nuclear deal to be revived soon

West suspect Iran flouting nuclear deal over IAEA critical report

With the release of the critical report by IAEA on Iran’s nuclear activities, the West would decide whether they would condemn Iran for flouting the nuclear deal given the fact that new hardline administration in Iran under Ebrahim Raisi had made it difficult for the IAEA inspectors to oversee and monitor its nuclear program.

The Iranian president, Ebrahim Raisi, has warned that if West decides to censure or penalize over the account of the report which Iran claims as groundless could delay or prevent Iran returning to the talks in Vienna on how the US and Iran could come back into compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal. Iran UN envoy had already explicated that the claims by the IAEA report that Iran is not making its nuclear sites transparent was a thing of the past and reiterated that Iran’s nuclear program is peaceful. He further asserted that Iran had always been under tough questioning scrutiny over its nuclear activities while Israel who holds an illicit nuclear program is never questioned.

Mutual compliance would result in the lifting of a swathe of sanctions on Iran and the likely release of political prisoners.

Read more: Iran nuclear deal: How to save it?

Russia and IAEA urge Iran-West cooperation

Russia urged the Europeans not to complicate the Iranian return by tabling a censure motion but also urged Iran as soon as possible to return to the talks that started in April and ended in June. Malley met Russian diplomats on Thursday in Moscow in the hope Russia could spell out to Tehran the risks it is running if it overplays its negotiating hand.

Earlier this week Antony Blinken, the US secretary of state, said “we are getting closer to the point at which a strict compliance with the the nuclear deal or JCPOA does not reproduce the benefits the agreement achieved”. But he added “we are not there yet”.

It is becoming hard for the west not to table some censure given the clear public warning by Rafael Grossi, the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, on Tuesday that the IAEA’s activities in Iran had been severely undermined.

“I am increasingly concerned that issues with unannounced sites remain unresolved and that Iran needs to resolve them as soon as possible,” Grossi said in a statement earlier this week.

Raisi hardliner approach making talks over nuclear deal difficult

The 7 September IAEA report noted that “Iran’s failure to respond to the agency’s requests for access to its monitoring equipment is seriously compromising the agency’s technical capability to maintain continuity of knowledge”. The continuity of knowledge was “necessary for the agency to resume its verification and monitoring of Iran’s nuclear-related commitments in the future”, it said.

Amir Abdollahian, the new Iranian foreign minister, replacing the long-serving Javad Zarif, suggested it may take two to three months to agree the terms of Iran’s return to Vienna, a timeline that has exasperated Europeans given the progress that had been made with the previous government.

Davenport warned: “Raisi’s rhetoric and the current trajectory of the nuclear programme suggest he may try to drive a harder bargain to extract more sanctions relief and, in the process, overplay his hand or drag out talks past the point where the US thinks it’s worth continuing.”

With both sides refusing to bulge an inch from their standpoint, it will become immensely challenging for IAEA to table an Iran-West talk over the nuclear deal.

Read more: Iran desires talks on nuclear deal irrespective of western pressure: Raisi

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