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US Iran envoy says will wait for IAEA chief trip to Iran before deciding on next steps
‘Let’s see what the IAEA reports back and then it’ll be time enough for us to decide on appropriate next steps," U.S. Iran envoy Rob Malley said March 2.
The U.S. Special Envoy for Iran said the United States would wait for the results of a visit of International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Rafael Grossi to Iran this weekend before determining next steps.
“The Director General is about to go to Iran,” US Iran envoy Rob Malley told a meeting of think tank experts convened by J Street, a center-left pro-Israel group, today (March 2). “He’s not yet issued his report on Iran’s NPT compliance or non-compliance. Let’s wait for that and then we’ll see what actions are appropriate.”
“And we’re in very close contact with the E3 and others around the globe who are concerned about Iran’s nuclear program, and we’ll decide at that point,” Malley continued.
Malley declined to comment on a Wall Street Journal report today that alleged there are differences between the US and Europeans over whether Iran should be censured at the IAEA Board of Governors meeting next week over traces of 84% enriched uranium detected at Iran’s underground Fordo facility in January. The United States is still waiting for the IAEA’s fuller assessment of the issue, Malley said.
“Regardless of what we do, our concerns about Iran exist, and they’re not going away,” Malley said. “Concerns about their lack of cooperation with the IAEA—there are still a number of outstanding questions that they have repeatedly refused to answer; the discovery of particles of uranium enriched at roughly 84%. We need some explanation as to that, and we’re… waiting for the IAEA’s…own assessment, and many other issues that the IAEA will raise with them.”
“So let’s not rush to conclusions about what we will or will not do,” he said. “Let’s see what the IAEA reports back and then it’ll be time enough for us to decide on appropriate next steps.”
IAEA DG Grossi “will travel to Tehran for high-level meetings at the invitation of Iran’s government,” the IAEA tweeted today, adding that Grossi would be returning to Vienna late Saturday.
As to what expectations he had for what Grossi might seek from Iran, Malley said he is leaving that up to the Agency.
“It is up to the IAEA,” he said. Noting that there was already a visit by an IAEA team led by IAEA Deputy DG Massimo Aparo last week, Malley continued, “I am sure they have made some…requests, and we’ll see whether Iran is prepared to show the transparency, the cooperation, that they’ve…failed to do now for a very long time.”
“I don’t want to speak for the Director General,” he said. “This is really his business, his show, his responsibility and we have full confidence in his professionalism. …So we’re not going to dictate what he should ask for, or whether he’s satisfied.”
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