Rafael Grossi, the director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), has contended that reviving the nuclear deal between Iran and world powers is “impossible” and that a new agreement is needed, according to the Spanish newspaper El Pais.
The IAEA chief said that he believes that the old deal can no longer be resuscitated after Tehran was found to be producing what could be considered the minimum amount of materials needed to construct a nuclear weapon.
The agency recently told member delegations that the Middle Eastern nation has “begun feeding a newly installed cascade of 174 IR-4 centrifuges” to enrich uranium hexafluoride gas up to 5 percent U-235 uranium.
The use of the advanced centrifuges in the Natanz facility is considered to be another violation of the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which was the Iranian nuclear deal that gave the country economic relief from sanctions in return for limits to its burgeoning nuclear program.
That particular agreement allows Iran to only enrich with first-generation IR-1 centrifuges.
The chief purpose of the deal—which former President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from in 2018 and imposed “unprecedented” sanctions on the country—was to prevent the Islamic republic from building a nuclear weapon. Tehran has long contended that its nuclear program is only for peaceful purposes.
The Joe Biden administration has acknowledged that it won’t lift sanctions unless Tehran reverses its breaches of the nuclear deal. Meanwhile, Iran has demanded that the United States lifts it sanctions first before engaging in any further talks.
Iran would also like the United States to sign off on a deal that would return billions of dollars in frozen Iranian funds that are currently being held in South Korea.
“Detailed and technical discussions” are needed to establish the location of Iran’s undeclared uranium, Grossi recently told Newsweek.
“We need to know what was going on there, we need to know exactly what kind of activities were taking place there, and we need to know if there was material, where is this material now? Because it hasn’t been declared. This necessitates a very detailed and technical discussion, which was not taking place.”
Kazem Gharibabadi, Iran’s representative to the IAEA and other Vienna-based international bodies, told reporters on Wednesday that Grossi’s remarks “will only damage the IAEA’s credibility before Iran and Iranians, and will eliminate the chance for the success of the IAEA chief’s next initiatives on the basis of interaction and good faith.”
He continued: “We do not need to complicate (the JCPOA) with such strange positions. The issues are interconnected, and Iran will organize its measures and interactions with the IAEA and its director general with regard to other factors. Do not cling to over-two-decade-old allegations as a cover-up to justify your deliberate failure to address important issues of proliferation, including the nuclear dossier of the Israeli regime.”
Ethen Kim Lieser is a Minneapolis-based Science and Tech Editor who has held posts at Google, The Korea Herald, Lincoln Journal Star, AsianWeek, and Arirang TV. Follow or contact him on LinkedIn.