Iran nuclear: IAEA chief Rafael Grossi 'to meet Iranian President Raissi on Saturday'

A student looks at Iran's domestically built centrifuges in an exhibition of the country's nuclear achievements, in Tehran, Iran, Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2023.
A student looks at Iran's domestically built centrifuges in an exhibition of the country's nuclear achievements, in Tehran, Iran, Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2023. Copyright AP Photo/Vahid Salemi
Copyright AP Photo/Vahid Salemi
By AFP with Euronews
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The reported meeting follows the detection of particles of uranium enriched to 83.7% at an Iranian plant, according to a UN report.


The Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Rafael Grossi, plans to meet with Iranian President Ebrahim Raissi on Saturday in Tehran to "relaunch the dialogue", according to a diplomatic source.

The meeting is scheduled for "early morning" before returning to UN headquarters in Vienna in the evening, the source said on Wednesday, adding that Grossi had made it clear he would only go to the Iranian capital on the condition that he could speak with the president.

In view of the deterioration in cooperation, "he wants to have the opportunity to restart the relationship at the highest level," the European source added.

When contacted, the IAEA declined to comment.

The Iranian news agency Fars reported that Grossi would arrive in Tehran on Friday for high-level meetings on Saturday, without giving further details.

The visit comes at a time when the progress of Iran's nuclear programme is causing great concern.

Negotiations to revive the 2015 agreement to limit Iran's nuclear activities in exchange for the lifting of international sanctions have been stalled since the summer of 2022.

The agency detected particles of uranium enriched to 83.7% in the underground Fordo plant, just short of the 90% needed to produce an atomic bomb, according to a confidential report seen by AFP on Tuesday.

The discovery came after a technical change in two centrifuge cascades -- machines used in the enrichment process -- that Iran had not previously reported to the IAEA.

The body has asked for "clarification" and "discussions are still ongoing" to determine whether the threshold was reached accidentally or deliberately, the report said.

Rafael Grossi will try to find out more and obtain from Iran "increased access to the site and an increase in the number of inspections", the diplomatic source said.

Depending on the progress made during the trip, the United States and the E3 (United Kingdom, France and Germany) will decide whether or not to submit a draft resolution to the IAEA board of governors, scheduled for next week in Vienna.

Iran had already been called to order at the last meeting in November 2022 for its lack of cooperation regarding traces of enriched uranium found at three undeclared sites.

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