UN atomic watchdog chief Rafael Grossi
IAEA chief Rafael Grossi
Photo: Reuters
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif inspecting reactors at the Fordow nuclear plant

IAEA chief says matter of weeks left to revive Iran nuclear diplomacy

Rafael Grossi says the Islamic Republic's progress on enrichment is 'quite rapid'; Tehran resumed 20% uranium enrichment at its underground plant earlier this month in protest over U.S. sanctions

Reuters |
Published: 01.11.21 , 15:28
Reviving Iran's nuclear deal must happen within the coming weeks, UN atomic watchdog chief Rafael Grossi said on Monday after Tehran resumed 20% uranium enrichment and its parliament threatened to curb access for UN inspectors in February.
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  • "It is clear that we don't have many months ahead of us. We have weeks," Grossi said in an interview for the Reuters Next conference.
    rouhani iran zarif uranium nuclear rouhani iran zarif uranium nuclear
    Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif inspecting reactors at the Fordow nuclear plant
    (Photo: AFP)
    Iran resumed enriching uranium to 20% fissile strength at the underground Fordow nuclear plant earlier this month in a further breach of the nuclear pact with major powers since the United States withdrew from it in 2018, possibly complicating efforts by U.S. President-elect Joe Biden to rejoin the deal.
    Its parliament passed a law in November that obliges the government to halt inspections of its nuclear sites by the International Atomic Energy Agency and step up uranium enrichment if U.S. sanctions are not eased.
    UN atomic watchdog chief Rafael Grossi UN atomic watchdog chief Rafael Grossi
    IAEA chief Rafael Grossi
    (Photo: Reuters)
    An Iranian lawmaker said on Jan. 9 said it would give the incoming Biden administration, which takes office on Jan. 20, until Feb. 21 to reverse sanctions.
    "I must take it seriously because it's the law," Grossi said, adding that he believed the Islamic Republic's government intended to implement it.
    Grossi said Iran was progressing "quite rapidly" in 20% enrichment and that based on estimations it would be able to reach about 10 kilograms a month at its facility in Fordow.
    An Iranian clergyman looks at domestically built surface to surface missiles displayed by the Revolutionary Guard in a military show marking the 40th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution, at Imam Khomeini Grand Mosque in Tehran, Iran, February 3, 2019 An Iranian clergyman looks at domestically built surface to surface missiles displayed by the Revolutionary Guard in a military show marking the 40th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution, at Imam Khomeini Grand Mosque in Tehran, Iran, February 3, 2019
    An Iranian clergyman looks at domestically built surface to surface missiles displayed at Imam Khomeini Grand Mosque in Tehran
    (Photo: AP)
    Uranium refined to 20% fissile purity is well above the 5% generally regarded as suitable for producing civilian nuclear energy and shortens Iran's potential path to 90% purity required for a nuclear bomb. Iran denies any intent to weaponize enrichment.
    "There will have to be a clear understanding on how the initial terms and provisions of the JCPOA (nuclear deal) are going to be recompiled with," Grossi said.
    Tehran started violating the 2015 accord in 2019 in a step-by-step response to President Donald Trump's withdrawal from it in 2018 and to the reimposition of U.S. sanctions that had been rescinded under the deal.

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