IAEA won’t close investigation into unexplained uranium traces in Iran without answers

“Give us the necessary answers, people and places so that we can clarify many things that need to be clarified,” IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi said on Monday.

The inspectors also found information about a significant amount of equipment in locations that were not declared to be nuclear sites.

The events come as the European Union is brokering indirect talks between the US and Iran in a bid to restart the nuclear deal that former US President Donald Trump backed out in 2018 before imposing tough economic sanctions on Tehran.

After CNN’s Becky Anderson asked Grossi if the IAEA would end its investigation without getting answers, he replied in the negative.

“Absolutely not. We want to be able to clarify these things. So far, Iran has not given us the technically sound explanations necessary to explain the origin of many traces of uranium, the availability of equipment on the ground,” he said.

“The idea that from a political point of view we will stop doing our job is unacceptable to us,” Grossi said.

In June, the IAEA condemned Iran for traces of uranium found at three undeclared sites in 2019. Iran dismissed the IAEA’s proposal as “politicized” and responded by removing surveillance cameras at key sites, depriving participants of up-to-date information about the country’s uranium enrichment program.

Iranian officials have demanded that the IAEA investigation be dropped before Iran joins the nuclear deal.

But Grossi said he needed to have an explanation of what happened to the uranium traces and where they are now. “Let’s explain. Where is he now? At this point, we can get a report that yes, we have clarified this issue,” he said.

Since Trump pulled out of the nuclear deal and imposed an aggressive sanctions regime in May 2018, Tehran has been enriching uranium at higher levels and at an increasing rate.

Iran demands compensation if US withdraws from nuclear deal again, diplomatic source says

Current U.S. President Joe Biden resumed negotiations to restore the deal with Iran almost a year and a half ago. Progress has been slow, but there have been signs of progress in recent weeks.

In June, the UN’s Nuclear Regulatory Authority said Iran would receive “significant amounts of enriched uranium” in a few weeks, but added that this “does not indicate a bomb.”

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