US waiting for UN nuclear watchdog meetings in Iran before deciding next steps

The number three Pentagon official said this week that Iran was capable of making enough fissile material for a nuclear bomb in “about 12 days.”

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The US is waiting for the head of the UN nuclear watchdog to meet with Iranian officials this weekend before deciding on its next steps in response to Tehran’s nuclear escalations, a State Department official said Wednesday.

“We understand IAEA Director General Grossi will be in Tehran for high-level meetings this weekend, and we await the results of those discussions as well as issuance of his report on NPT related issues,” the spokesperson told Al Arabiya English.

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According to diplomats taking part in talks to revive the 2015 nuclear deal, the UK, France, and Germany have tabled a proposal to censure Iran at the next International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) meeting.

But the unnamed diplomats, as reported by the Wall Street Journal, said that the Biden administration is against this choice.

Asked about these reports, the State Department official said they would wait for IAEA Director-General Rafael Grossi to finish his meetings and issue his report on Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) issues.

“We will not detail those diplomatic conversations,” the official said about discussions between the US and its European allies.

The number three Pentagon official said this week that Iran was capable of making enough fissile material for a nuclear bomb in “about 12 days.”

The IAEA has reportedly detected uranium enriched to 84 percent purity in Iran, making it one of the highest levels reported and close to weapons-grade, which is around 90 percent.

“We remain extremely concerned by Iran’s lack of cooperation with the IAEA, as well as by its provocative nuclear escalations that have no legitimate civilian purpose,” the State Department official said on Wednesday. “We will continue to support the IAEA in its efforts and call on Iran to fully comply with its legally-binding international obligations under its Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement with the IAEA.”

Nevertheless, US officials have repeatedly said that reviving the nuclear deal, known as the JCPOA, is not a priority at the moment. Iran’s demands for the deal, its supply of weapons to Russia, and its violent crackdown on protesters inside the country have made it difficult for the US to resume indirect talks on a nuclear agreement.

Read more: IAEA’s Grossi to travel to Iran, seeking breakthrough on cooperation

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