UN atomic watchdog: Return to Iran nuclear deal possible

An American return to the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran remains possible, but both sides need to be prepared to negotiate, the head of the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog suggests to European parliamentarians.

Asked about Iran’s insistence that the US take the first step to return to the deal, International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Rafael Grossi says in a video appearance before three European Parliament committees that “it takes two to tango.”

He notes that over the past two years Iran has accumulated a lot of nuclear material and new capacities, and used the time for “honing their skills in these areas.”

Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency Rafael Grossi addresses the media after a meeting of the IAEA board of governors at the International Center in Vienna, Austria, Monday, March 1, 2021 (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)

“Even if you had a magic wand or the hand of God and said we go back tomorrow, there will be a lot of housekeeping,” he says.

Grossi says he has been talking to both sides in his agency’s “impartial neutral role” and does think that a US return to the deal is possible.

“They want to come back,” he says. “But of course… there are a number of issues that still need to be clarified. So it’s not impossible. It is difficult, but not impossible.”

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