Acting Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Cornel Feruta arrived in Tehran on Sunday for high-level meetings with Iranian officials, AFP reports citing Iranian news agency ISNA.
The visit comes one day after Iran announced the firing up of the advanced centrifuges that would increase its stockpile of enriched uranium, the third step it has taken back from its 2015 commitments under an international nuclear agreement signed in Vienna.
The Romanian diplomat has on the agenda meetings with the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Ali Akbar Salehi, with Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and Rear Admiral Ali Shamkhani, Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council.
“The visit is part of ongoing interactions between the IAEA and Iran,” the UN nuclear watchdog said in a statement released before Cornel Feruta’s departure, adding that the measures it has taken have been prescribed in the JCPOA nuclear accord on Iranian nuclear activities that allowed the lifting of international sanctions against Iran in exchange for limits set on its nuclear program.
Despite moving to the third phase in reducing its nuclear commitments, Iran said that it will continue to authorize the access of IAEA inspectors tasked with monitoring its nuclear program under the same conditions.
In response, the IAEA stated that “agency inspectors are on the ground in Iran and they will report any relevant activities to IAEA headquarters in Vienna.”
Since May, Iran has announced three phases of reducing its commitments under the 2015 nuclear agreement, from which the US withdrew unilaterally in 2018, reimposing harsh sanctions against the Islamic Republic.
On July 1 Tehran announced having increased its stockpile of enriched uranium to beyond the 300-kilogramme limit set by the agreement, and a week later it announced it had exceeded the 3.67 percent uranium enrichment limit provided for by the deal.
Cornel Feruta’s visit to Tehran takes place ahead of the quarterly meeting in Vienna of the IAEA board of governors to discuss its verification and monitoring mission in Iran.
In its latest report on August 30, IAEA said it was continuing to verify compliance through cameras and on-site inspections, but that “ongoing interactions between the Agency and Iran … require full and timely cooperation by Iran.”