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IAEA chief to visit Tehran upon invitation, sources say

According to diplomats closely monitoring the nuclear talks, the IAEA chief will visit Tehran on Sunday.

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On Saturday, the International Atomic Energy Agency’s chief (IAEA), Rafael Grossi, will reportedly visit Tehran this weekend. According to the sources, Grossi’s visit will come upon an invitation coming from the Iranian side.

Three diplomats, who closely monitor the nuclear talks between Iran and Western powers, stated that Grossi’s visit, which would come just a week before the meeting of the IAEA’s 35-countries board of governors, was confirmed.

However, there are others who claim that they have not yet received any information regarding confirmation of Grossi’s trip.

The UN’s nuclear watchdog head is expected to arrive in Tehran early on Sunday, according to two sources. During his trip, Grossi would meet with Mohammad Eslami, the new chief of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran.

Grossi’s visit would reportedly come to discuss ways that might lead to reducing tension between Iran and the Western states, which is already tense due to the Iranian attitude risking undermining the nuclear talks on reviving the 2015 nuclear deal.

The IAEA sent two separate reports to its member states, informing them that no progress has been achieved on two key issues, which are “explaining uranium traces found at several old, undeclared sites and getting urgent access to some monitoring equipment so the agency can continue to keep track of parts of Iran’s nuclear program as provided for by the 2015 deal.”

Both the indirect talks between Iran and the US and the official talks between Tehran and European states have stalled in June following Iran’s presidential election. Western states have frequently called Iran’s new hardline President Ebrahim Raisi, who took office in August, to return to the talks.

Meanwhile, France, the UK, and Germany, the European contracting parties of the 2015 deal, conducted a meeting with the US in Paris on Friday. During the meeting, they reportedly discussed ways on which stance should be taken at the IAEA board as well as on possible scenarios in case of Iran shows doggedness against returning to negotiations. However, any decision has not been taken yet, sources said.

Grossi’s visit will be closely watched by countries on the IAEA Board of Governors to see if Iran agrees to either give access to monitoring equipment or provide answers about the uranium particles discovered at the undeclared old sites.

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