IAEA ‘Uncomfortable’ With Pause in Iran Nuclear Talks

The flag of Iran is seen in front of the building of the IAEA Headquarters in Vienna, Austria. (AP Photo/Florian Schroetter)

International Atomic Energy Agency Director Rafael Grossi said Tuesday that the enforced pause to the nuclear talks taking place in Vienna has placed his organization in an “uncomfortable” position, the AFP reported.

On Saturday, Tehran’s chief nuclear negotiator Seyed Abbas Araghchi declared that the country would not take part in any further talks until the upcoming change of government, which recently elected President Ebrahim Raisi will spearhead.

“We still have a number of questions, issues that we are trying to clarify with Iran, and we will have to wait and start anew with the new team when they are in office,” Grossi said.

The announcement that the process would be resumed only after Raisi takes over “leaves us in a rather uncomfortable situation,” he added.

“I’m talking about the agency, I don’t know about the others, but I suppose they would rather be negotiating than waiting,” he added.

Iran and European powers have been involved with direct talks in Vienna for several months. Officially, the United States has not entered into any direct talks with the Iranians but has a diplomatic presence in an adjacent hotel – and messages are passed between the European interlocutors.

Former U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew from the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and current U.S. President Joe Biden, like his previous boss, former President Barack Obama, has made rejoining the Iran nuclear deal one of the cornerstones of his foreign policy.