International Atomic Energy Agency chief Rafael Grossi has begun talks with Iranian officials, a week before the resumption of negotiations to salvage the Iran nuclear deal.

UN nuclear watchdog chief Rafael Grossi has said that he wanted to deepen cooperation with Iran in his talks in Tehran.
UN nuclear watchdog chief Rafael Grossi has said that he wanted to deepen cooperation with Iran in his talks in Tehran. (Reuters)

The United Nations' atomic watchdog has arrived in Iran to press officials for greater access into the country's nuclear facilities.

The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Rafael Mariano Grossi, began talks in Iran on Tuesday, a week ahead of diplomatic talks over Tehran's tattered nuclear deal with world powers.

A day after arriving in the Iranian capital, Grossi opened discussions with the chief of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, Mohammad Eslami, the official state news agency IRNA reported.

In a joint televised news conference Eslami said Tehran was determined to resolve technical issues with the IAEA without "politicising the matter". 

Grossi's inspectors remain unable to access surveillance footage and face greater challenges in trying to monitor Tehran's rapidly growing uranium stockpile

READ MORE: IAEA demands answers from Iran on extending monitoring deal

Tightrope-style talks

Later, Grossi will meet for the first time with Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian, who is in charge of nuclear issues in Iran's new government.

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

Hours before Grossi's arrival, Iran's foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh expressed hopes that his visit would be "constructive".

"We have always advised the IAEA to stay on the path of technical cooperation, and to not let certain countries pursue their political orientations on behalf of the IAEA," he said.

In the wake of then-President Donald Trump's unilateral withdrawal from Iran's deal, the Islamic Republic now enriches small amounts of uranium up to 60 percent purity — its highest ever and close to weapons-grade levels of 90 percent.

READ MORE: IAEA fallout shows Iran will drive a hard bargain on the nuclear deal

Nuclear energy monitoring

Under a confidential agreement called an “Additional Protocol” with Iran, the IAEA collects and analyses images from a series of surveillance cameras installed at Iranian nuclear sites. 

Iran’s hard-line parliament in December 2020 approved a bill that would suspend part of UN inspections of its nuclear facilities if European signatories did not provide relief from oil and banking sanctions by February. 

Since February, the IAEA has been unable to access imagery from those cameras. The agency also has sought monitoring of activities at a centrifuge parts production site near northern city of Karaj. 

The IAEA has had no access there since June after Iran said a sabotage attack by Israel considerably damaged the facility and an IAEA camera there.

READ MORE: Iranian security guards accused of sexually harassing IAEA inspectors

Source: TRTWorld and agencies