Rafael Grossi, chief executive of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), arrived in Tehran on Saturday to receive important advice on inspecting Iran’s nuclear facilities. Tensions between Western powers and Iran over the nuclear deal have risen sharply in recent days.
Crozi will hold talks on Sunday with Ali-Akbar Salehi, head of the Iranian nuclear establishment, and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. There may also be a meeting with President Hassan Rohani.
The tone in the nuclear talks has been difficult since Tehran announced this week that IAEA analysts would no longer have unlimited access to Iran’s nuclear facilities, starting next Tuesday. Iran’s hard-won nuclear deal with the United States, China, Germany, France, the United Kingdom and Russia in 2015 threatens to turn into an empty box. The agreements made at the time were to ensure that the country could no longer produce nuclear weapons. In return for the Iranian promises, sanctions will be lifted.
Iran has stopped complying with the nuclear deal following former US President Donald Trump’s decision to unilaterally withdraw his country from the deal. Trump also imposed new sanctions.
With the announcement restricting the freedom of movement of IAEA analysts, Tehran has now increased pressure, especially on the new US administration. US President Joe Biden has announced his intention to rejoin the nuclear deal. Biden pointed out on Friday that Iran wants the United States to lift sanctions, but that Iran should sit at the negotiating table first.
Many observers fear that the IAEA Director General’s visit will not break the deadlock.