Iran and IAEA Negotiate Draft Text for Nuclear Program Cooperation

IAEA officials are expected to visit Iran to finalize a draft text for bilateral cooperation on the country's nuclear program. The negotiations come ahead of the IAEA Board of Governors' meeting in June, where Director General Rafael Grossi will submit his report.

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Aqsa Younas Rana
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Iran and IAEA Negotiate Draft Text for Nuclear Program Cooperation

Iran and IAEA Negotiate Draft Text for Nuclear Program Cooperation

Officials from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) are expected to may visit Iran in the coming days to finalize a draft text for bilateral cooperation on the country's nuclear program. The negotiations come ahead of the IAEA board, new of Governors' meeting scheduled for June 3-7, 2024, where IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi will submit his report to the Board.

Last week, Grossi visited Tehran, where he and officials agreed to use the March Statement, an agreement reached in March 2023, as the basis for mutual cooperation. The draft text will outline cooperation between Iran and the IAEA in three sections, focusing on past issues, existing conditions, and political resolutions related to Iran's nuclear program.

Why this matters: The outcome of these negotiations will have significant implications for regional stability and global non-proliferation efforts, as Iran's nuclear program has been a source of concern for the international community. A successful agreement could pave the way for increased cooperation and reduced tensions, while a failure to reach a deal could lead to further escalation and instability in the region.

However, progress on implementing the commitments made in the March Statement has been limited. Iran has only implemented a small fraction of the agreed-upon measures, with concrete steps stopping in June 2022. The IAEA faces difficulties in Iran, including restricted access to facilities and the banning of top enrichment experts. Additionally, a years-long investigation into unexplained uranium traces at undeclared sites remains unresolved, and uranium enrichment levels have reached up to 60% purity, close to weapons-grade level.

Despite the challenges, Grossi remains optimistic about reaching a deal soon. "I certainly expect to start having some concrete results soon," he stated. "I want results and I want them soon. And I think they understand that as well." Grossi hopes to reach an agreement within a month, in time for the next IAEA Board of Governors meeting.

The IAEA chief acknowledged that political aspects, including the lifting of sanctions, are involved in the discussions but emphasized that these issues are beyond the IAEA's remit and require the involvement of major powers. "The complex aspect about this, is that there are a lot of political things involved. Some of them within my purview, some of them not," Grossi said.

The upcoming negotiations and the IAEA Board of Governors' meeting in June will be crucial in determining the future of Iran's nuclear program and its cooperation with the international community. As Mohammad Eslami, Iran's nuclear chief, stated, "We continue interactions over unresolved issues, including issues regarding two sites." The outcome of these discussions will have significant implications for regional stability and global non-proliferation efforts.

Key Takeaways

  • IAEA officials to visit Iran to finalize draft text on nuclear program cooperation.
  • Negotiations aim to resolve past issues, existing conditions, and political resolutions.
  • Outcome will impact regional stability and global non-proliferation efforts.
  • IAEA faces challenges, including restricted access and unresolved uranium traces.
  • IAEA chief hopes to reach agreement within a month, in time for June meeting.