Iran’s foreign minister said that his country is ready to work with the International Atomic Energy Agency [IAEA] to resolve questions about uranium found at three undeclared sites, as long as the agency addresses these questions “technically,” rather than politically.
“The agency has questions about three alleged sites that they say they have found uranium, and we are ready to provide answers to those questions,” said Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian in an exclusive interview with Al-Monitor on Sunday evening.
Once there is agreement on a return to the nuclear deal, known formally as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action [JCPOA], Iran will be ready to grant access to the IAEA “beyond safeguards,” he said.
“These apparent baseless allegations against Iran, that have been put on the agenda of the agency [IAEA] need to be removed first,” he said. “But we believe and accept that to do so, there has to be some technical work to be done.”
“At the same time, the agency needs to behave and act technically,” rather than politically, he added.
Amir Abdollahian referred to a similar process in 2015, when the IAEA ended its probe into the past military dimensions [PMD] of Iran’s nuclear program with a resolution that allowed the JCPOA to proceed. As in 2015, he said, “there needs to be the political will to close the case of these allegations.”
Asked why Iran is not addressing the outstanding issues in the JCPOA via direct talks with the United States, he said the Americans did relay a message in New York last week: “Let’s talk directly.”
“We are not afraid of having face-to-face talks with the United States, but we should feel that it is going to be a game changer, that there is going to be some kind of gain for us.”
“If the Americans are serious, and they are willing to show their willingness and desire to get back to the JCPOA, these [indirect] messages will suffice.”
Asked whether in the absence of direct talks, Iran would support a new round of EU-facilitated indirect negotiations, Amir Abdollahian did not necessarily see a need to do so, saying that Iran’s position in the recent rounds has been to make the agreement more transparent and less ambiguous.
“But if the American side feels that there needs to be another round of talks done by the coordinators, I mean, [EU foreign policy chief] Josep Borrell and the EU, then we are not going to reject that.”
Source: Iranian media (edited by Al-Manar English Website)