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Iran Press TV

Iran mulls over extending deal with IAEA on inspections of nuclear sites: Senior diplomat

Iran Press TV

Saturday, 08 May 2021 3:38 PM

A senior Iranian diplomat says the Islamic Republic may consider extending a deal with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on inspections of its nuclear sites as negotiations are underway in the Austrian capital of Vienna between Tehran and the P4+1 group of countries to revive a landmark 2015 nuclear agreement.

Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi, who is the head of the Iranian delegation to the Vienna talks, made the remarks while speaking to NHK on Friday.

Under former president Donald Trump, the US withdrew from the nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and initiated a "maximum pressure" policy against Iran, prompting Tehran to take remedial measures by gradually reducing its nuclear commitments under the deal.

In February, Iran halted its voluntary implementation of the Additional Protocol that allowed the IAEA to carry short-notice inspections at its nuclear sites.

Later in February, Iran and the IAEA reached a technical understanding under which Iran continued to keep the camera footage at its nuclear sites for up to three months in a goodwill gesture in support of diplomacy, waiting to see whether the other parties to the JCPOA can manage to bring the US back into full compliance with the deal.

That deadline would come to an end on May 21, while the prospects of reaching an agreement to bring Washington into compliance with the JCPOA look uncertain.

Araqchi told an NHK correspondent that Iran hopes enough progress will be made during the Vienna talks so that there will be no need for an extension.

But Iran will consider an extension of its deal with the UN nuclear agency at a proper time if needed, the top Iranian diplomat said.

In a meeting in Vienna on Thursday, the top Iranian negotiator and IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi discussed the latest developments on multilateral efforts to revive the JCPOA as a key deadline set by Tehran for the removal of US sanctions approaches.

Delegates from Iran and the other five signatories to the nuclear agreement wrapped up another round of talks in Vienna on Friday apparently without any breakthrough, with both sides agreeing to speed up the diplomatic process.

The senior diplomats sat down behind closed doors for a fourth round of negotiations on ways to bring the United States back to the accord and prepare the ground for a full implementation of the landmark agreement.

Similar to the previous round, the session on Friday was chaired by Political Director of the European External Action Service Enrique Mora.

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