Tehran, May 18 (IANS): Iran's nuclear chief has said that cooperation between Iran and the IAEA is continuing on the basis of a joint statement issued by the two sides in March, official news agency IRNA reported.
President of the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran (AEOI) Mohammad Eslami made the remarks on Wednesday in an address to reporters on the sidelines of a cabinet meeting, rejecting a report by Bloomberg claiming a "plunge" in IAEA's inspections of the country's nuclear activities.
Bloomberg claimed on Friday (May 12) in a report that IAEA data shows the number of examinations fell by 10 per cent in 2022 after Iran ended monitoring arrangements specified under the "now-collapsed" agreement with world powers.
Eslami said that relations between Iran and the IAEA are continuing on the basis of the safeguards agreements and the Non-Proliferation Treaty, adding no disruption has occurred, Xinhua news agency reported.
Reacting to recent remarks by IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi that chances of Iran returning to a 2015 nuclear deal are "slim," Eslami added the agency is not the one Iran is negotiating with on the revival of the pact.
In an interview with CBC News aired on Sunday (May 14) , Grossi said the chances of Iran returning to the nuclear deal are "slim, but it's important to keep interacting with Tehran," adding "if the interactions between Iran and the agency are seen or assessed as bad and the cooperation is not good, the chances are zero".
Grossi paid a two-day visit to Tehran in early March when the two sides reached an agreement on further interactions based on Iran's cooperation and greater openness to IAEA's inspections.
Iran signed the nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), with world powers in July 2015, agreeing to put some curbs on its nuclear programme in return for the removal of the sanctions on the country. The US, however, pulled out of the deal in May 2018 and reimposed its unilateral sanctions on Iran, prompting the latter to drop some of its nuclear commitments under the deal.
The talks on the JCPOA's revival began in April 2021 in Vienna. No breakthrough has been achieved after the latest round of talks in August 2022.