Acting IAEA head in Tehran for high-level nuclear talks

Press TV – The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)’s acting head is in Tehran to hold talks with senior Iranian officials, days after the country suspended more of its commitments under a 2015 multilateral nuclear deal and accelerated its nuclear work as part of its countermeasures against the US’s exit from the agreement.

Cornel Feruta arrived in the Iranian capital on Sunday morning for talks with Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Ali Akbar Salehi, and Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Ali Shamkhani.

Iran’s Ambassador to the IAEA Kazem Gharib-Abadi has said Feruta’s meetings are part of ongoing cooperation between Iran and the UN nuclear watchdog.

Announcing the third step in Iran’s reduction of commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), AEOI spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi said Saturday that the IAEA chief’s trip to Iran had been planned well in advance and prior to the death of Feruta’s predecessor, Yukiya Amano.

Feruta replaced Amano, who died in July at the age of 72.

Tehran has stopped observing the limits set by the JCPOA on nuclear research and development — known as R&D — as of September 6.

The AEOI said Saturday that the country has activated its advanced 20 IR-4 and 20 IR-6 centrifuges for research and development purposes. The IAEA also announced on the same day that it has inspectors on the ground in Iran, who will be able to look into the process of starting up the centrifuges.

The JCPOA was signed between Iran and six world states — namely the US, Germany, France, Britain, Russia and China — in 2015. Washington, however, left the accord abruptly last May, leaving the future of the historic deal in limbo.

Tehran remained fully compliant with the JCPOA for an entire year as confirmed by the IAEA in several reports, waiting for the co-signatories to fulfill their end of the bargain by protecting Iran against Washington’s bans.

As the European parties failed to do so, Tehran moved in May to retaliate against Washington’s exit and began suspending its JCPOA commitments in 60-day stages under Articles 26 and 36 of the deal covering Tehran’s legal rights.

Iran has given another two months to the European signatories to take meaningful action to save the JCPOA as a France-led diplomatic process is underway between the two sides.