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IAEA chief: Talks in Iran fail to resolve dispute over nuclear monitoring

Rafael Grossi says he ‘could not agree’ on points of contention during meetings in Tehran

Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Rafael Grossi, left, meets with Iran's Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian at the foreign ministry headquarters in the capital Tehran on November 23, 2021. (ATTA KENARE / AFP)
Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Rafael Grossi, left, meets with Iran's Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian at the foreign ministry headquarters in the capital Tehran on November 23, 2021. (ATTA KENARE / AFP)

VIENNA, Austria — The UN nuclear watchdog’s head said on Wednesday that he “could not agree” in talks with Iranian officials to resolve disputes over the monitoring of the country’s atomic program, a day after returning from Tehran.

Rafael Grossi, director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), told the quarterly meeting of the board of governors that his talks in Tehran were “inconclusive,” despite what he had earlier described as “intense” negotiations.

“We could not agree yesterday, in spite of my best efforts,” Grossi told reporters on Wednesday, shortly after addressing the board meeting.

Among other officials in Tehran, he met Mohammad Eslami, the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran.

He had been hoping to make progress on several points of contention between the agency and Tehran.

These include the constraints put on IAEA inspections activity earlier this year, outstanding questions over the presence of undeclared nuclear material at sites in Iran, and the treatment of IAEA staff in the country.

The talks came ahead of the scheduled resumption on Monday of negotiations between Tehran and world powers aimed at reviving the 2015 deal that gave Iran sanctions relief in return for curbs on its nuclear program.

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