UN nuclear watchdog meets Iranian officials in Vienna

BERLIN (AP) — The head of the United Nations nuclear watchdog said he met his Iranian counterpart in Vienna to discuss an ongoing investigation into man-made uranium particles found at an undeclared site in Iran.

Rafael Grossi, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), tweeted late Monday: “Restarting dialogue with Iran on clarifying outstanding safeguards.”

He said he had met Mohammad Eslami, vice president and head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran. Along with the statement, Grossi also posted photos of himself, Eslamy and other negotiators.

For years, the International Atomic Energy Agency has turned to Iran for answers to questions about uranium particles. U.S. intelligence agencies, Western countries and the International Atomic Energy Agency said Iran had been conducting an organized nuclear weapons program until 2003. Iran has long denied seeking nuclear weapons, insisting its nuclear program is peaceful.

The investigation has been a sticking point in negotiations to revive the 2015 agreement between the Islamic Republic and world powers.Iran’s hardline president Ibrahim Raisi august says The IAEA investigation into the issue must stop in order for Iran to recommit to the deal.

Earlier this month, a IAEA report Member States have criticized Iran’s lack of engagement with the IAEA on the issue. With Iranian leaders failing to provide a “credible” explanation for the existence of the particles, the report said the IAEA “cannot guarantee that Iran’s nuclear program is entirely peaceful”.

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