The head of the UN's nuclear watchdog, IAEA's Rafael Grossi, has said that bilateral talks between Iran and the United States could "provide clarity" and be beneficial.
Speaking at a news conference on Monday, Grossi acknowledged that Washington has informed the International Atomic Energy Agency of confidential talks with Iran, but he clarified that he is not privy to the details.
“We are aware that there is a bilateral process of sorts. We have been informed by the United States about this…and cooperation is good.” However, he commented on the nuclear part that "we are not clear about" what is being discussed/agreed. He also added that Washington might be discussing the 2015 JCPOA nuclear deal with Tehran but the IAEA has a host of outstanding issues with Iran, including monitoring of its nuclear activities.
He cautioned that his agency is not happy with how relations with Iran progress on the outstanding nuclear issues and has expressed its concerns in reports to the Board of Governors of the IAEA, as they hold their quarterly meeting this month.
Iran and the United States announced a hostage release deal last month that also included the release of $6 billion in Iranian funds blocked South Korea due to US sanctions. Earlier, the US had also agreed to Iraq releasing $2.7 billion of its energy debts to Iran.
Western media began reporting that talks between the two countries go beyond a prisoner release agreement and the two sides are engaged in a “de-escalation” effort. Washington will allow the gradual release of all Iranian frozen funds, estimated to be around $20 billion and Iran would slow down its uranium enrichment.
The IAEA has reported to member states that Iran’s pace of enriching uranium to 60-percent purity has slowed in recent weeks, which could signal an understanding with the United States to de-escalate.
Asked about IAEA not having access to the data of monitoring cameras re-installed at an Iranian nuclear facility in Esfahan (Isfahan) in June, he acknowledged the reality and said that the issue is open for negotiations with Iran, but “at this time we are nowhere near this point,” Grossi announced. He acknowledged that the data from the cameras are important and “we need to reconstruct” what transpires at Natanz “as a baseline.”
Behrouz Kamalvandi, the spokesman of Iran’s atomic agency, was quoted by local media June 15 as saying that ten of these cameras were re-installed in Esfahan’s Natanz facility, which is a major enrichment center, and apparently has a centrifuge production facility making the machines used in uranium enrichment.
Grossi also asked for more support from member states, emphasizing that IAEA depends on states to do its job.