Rafael Grossi, head of the IAEA told the agency’s governors Wednesday that his talks in Tehran were inconclusive in resolving issues in Iran's nuclear program.

Grossi’s trip to Iran ended Tuesday with statements from both sides that stressed their commitment to cooperation but left hanging questions raised by the IAEA(International Atomic Energy Agency)over the access of nuclear inspectors and the discovery of uranium traces in three locations undeclared as nuclear sites.

Grossi met both the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, Mohammad Eslami, and Iranian foreign minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian seeking IAEA access to a manufacturing workshop in Karaj, west of Tehran, to service cameras and monitoring equipment.

Asked by Iran International at a press conference following the board meeting about ambiguous comments from Eslami that the IAEA chief had confirmed in discussions there had been “no violations” in Iran’s nuclear program, Grossi suggested Eslami might have referred to past agency reports confirming it had found no diversion of nuclear material.

Grossi said time for bridging the disagreement over Karaj “is ending” that that the agency was approaching “a point where we are not able to guarantee bring fully informed.”

Grossi has argued that Iran agreed the access under a temporary arrangement in September, whereas Iran argues it is barring access due to a security review in the facility after it was attacked in June, reportedly by a drone.

The disappointment of the IAEA chief’s visit comes days before talks resume in Vienna November 29 to revive Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action).

"Despite my best efforts, these extensive negotiations and deliberations to address Iran's outstanding safeguards issues, detailed in the two reports, proved inconclusive," Grossi told the 35-nation board of governors as its quarterly meeting opened Wednesday.

Iran since February has restricted IAEA access more or less to that required under safeguards provisions of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation treaty, but Grossi managed that month to agree on an arrangement allowing a greater level of access, which he said gave the agency a clearer ability to detect any breaches.

While the agency would be expected to monitor a revived JCPOA, it has no direct role in the Vienna talks. Nonetheless, the apparent standoff between Iran and IAEA, both over the Karaj workshop and Iran’s unexplained past nuclear activities, may sour the atmosphere for the talks.

The Vienna negotiations have been suspended since June, but diplomatic and political maneuvering has continued apace, with speculation as to exactly what stance the new Iranian negotiating team will take.

The talks previously struggled to agree which United States sanctions should be lifted for Washington to return to the JCPOA, which previous president Donald Trump left in 2018, and exactly how the Iranian nuclear program, expanded and developed since 2019, would be brought back within JCPOA limits.

While talks in Vienna are formally between remaining JCPOA signatories – China, France, Germany, Iran, Russia, and the United Kingdom – US diplomats take part indirectly.

The IAEA has also told member states that Iran has subjected its inspectors to "excessively invasive searches, which resulted in them feeling intimidated."

The Wall Street Journal cited two diplomats who claimed Grossi had rejected an Iranian offer to allow access to Karaj in return for the agency dropping its questioning of the unexplained uranium traces in Iran’s past nuclear work. The Journal said talks between the IAEA and Iran “continued overnight” but gave no details.

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