VIENNA, March 5 (Reuters) – Iran hopes to resolve all outstanding issues with the visiting U.N. nuclear chief, a senior Iranian official told state TV on Saturday, in the latest push to secure the revival of a 2015 nuclear deal between the Islamic Republic and world powers.
Tehran and Washington have held more than 11 months of indirect talks in Vienna on reviving the pact, which limited Iran’s enrichment of uranium to make it harder for Tehran to develop material for nuclear weapons, in return for a lifting of economic sanctions.
“It is expected that general issues between us and the agency will be reviewed regarding how to pursue various matters in the future. God willing, there will be an understanding,” spokesperson for Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, Behrouz Kamlavandi, told state television.
International Atomic Energy Agency chief Rafael Grossi, who arrived in Tehran late on Friday, will hold talks with Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian before returning to Vienna in the afternoon, Kamalvandi said.
Grossi’s trip has raised hopes for progress on one of the last thorny issues blocking a deal to revive the nuclear pact abandoned in 2018 by former U.S. President Donald Trump, who also reimposed far-reaching sanctions on Iran.
Since 2019, Tehran has breached the deal’s nuclear limits and gone well beyond, rebuilding stockpiles of enriched uranium, refining it to higher fissile purity and installing advanced centrifuges to speed up output.
All parties involved in the talks aimed at bringing Tehran and Washington back into compliance with the nuclear pact have said they were close to reaching an agreement in Vienna.
One wildcard is an effort by the IAEA to resolve questions about nuclear material that the Vienna-based agency suspects Iran failed to declare.
The IAEA has found particles of processed uranium at three apparently old sites that Iran never declared and has repeatedly said Tehran has not provided satisfactory answers.
Iranian officials told Reuters that Tehran and the IAEA “could agree a roadmap to close the outstanding issues”, which will potentially clear the way for a deal.
(Writing by Parisa HafeziEditing by Michael Georgy, William Mallard and Catherine Evans)
Photo Head of Atomic Energy Organization of Iran Mohammad Eslami (R) meets with Rafael Grossi (L), head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), in Tehran, Iran, 05 March 2022. Grossi is in Tehran to meet with Iranian officials following nuclear talks in Vienna. EPA-EFE/STRINGER