UN nuke watchdog chief Grossi to arrive in Iran for Isfahan conference, talks with officials

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director-General Rafael Grossi attends IAEA Board of Governors emergency meeting in Vienna, Austria, on April 11, 2024. (Joe Klamar/AFP)
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director-General Rafael Grossi attends IAEA Board of Governors emergency meeting in Vienna, Austria, on April 11, 2024. (Joe Klamar/AFP)

UN atomic watchdog chief Rafael Grossi is set to arrive in Iran, where he is expected to speak at a conference and meet officials for talks on Tehran’s nuclear program.

The visit comes at a time of heightened regional tensions and with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) criticizing Iran for lack of cooperation on inspections and other outstanding issues.

Grossi, head of the IAEA, is expected to deliver a speech at Iran’s first International Conference on Nuclear Science and Technology.

The three-day event, which starts today, is being held in Isfahan province, home to the Natanz uranium enrichment plant and where strikes attributed to Israel hit last month.

The IAEA and Iranian officials reported “no damage” to nuclear facilities after the reported attack on Isfahan, widely seen as Israel’s response to Iran’s first-ever direct attack on Israel days earlier, which itself was retaliation for a deadly strike on what Tehran said was a Damascus consulate.

During his visit, Grossi is expected to meet with Iranian officials, including the Islamic Republic’s nuclear chief Mohammad Eslami.

On Wednesday Eslami, head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, said he was “sure that these negotiations will further help clear ambiguities, and we will be able to strengthen our relations with the agency.”

Iran in recent years has deactivated IAEA monitoring devices at nuclear facilities and barred inspectors, according to the UN agency.

Grossi last visited Iran in March 2023 and met with top officials including President Ebrahim Raisi.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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