LONDON, Feb. 8 (AP) The head of the United Nations nuclear watchdog stressed on Tuesday the urgency to resume diplomatic efforts to limit Iran’s nuclear program, saying the situation could deteriorate rapidly if talks fail.
IAEA Director-General Rafael Mariano Grossi said the diplomatic effort was “not yet at its best”, but he was in no position to declare the process “life or death”. However, he said progress was not impossible.
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“I hope that this essential dialogue can be rescheduled, revived, strengthened,” he said during a discussion at the Chatham House think tank. “Otherwise, things will get worse.”
Iran began rebuilding its nuclear stockpile after former U.S. President Donald Trump abandoned a 2015 deal to limit the Islamic Republic’s atomic energy programme.
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Negotiations to revive the deal ended in August when Western countries presented the “final text” of a road map for progress, which Iran has yet to accept.
Grossi warned last month that Iran has enough highly enriched uranium to make “several” nuclear weapons should it choose to do so.
But with Tehran supplying weapons for Russia’s war in Ukraine and the Islamic Republic of Iran in turmoil, a diplomatic effort to limit the country’s nuclear program again seems less likely than ever.
Grossi said the Middle East had a “unique set of problems” that would be exacerbated if diplomacy failed.
“I don’t think it’s in anyone’s interest to proliferate there. I think we’re exacerbating … an already fragile situation,” he said. “We’re not there yet. But we really can’t afford to fail.” (AP)
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