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Iran hopes UN nuclear watchdog will act 'neutrally' under new leader

Argentina's Rafael Grossi was named the head of the International Atomic Research Agency. [Getty]

Date of publication: 31 October, 2019

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Tensions between the US and Iran have been strained since Washington abruptly abandoned the landmark 2015 nuclear deal. Tehran has retaliated by suspending its compliance with parts of the agreement.
Iran hopes that the UN's nuclear watchdog will act "neutrally" following the appointment of a new leader, and at the same time vowed to maintain its cooperation with inspectors monitoring the landmark 2015 nuclear deal, AFP reported.

Argentina's Rafael Grossi took the helm of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) following the death of his predecessor.

Iran hopes that the IAEA "can neutrally and professionally undertake its international responsibilities and sensitive missions" during Grossi's tenure, foreign ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said in a statement.

"Iran is ready to maintain and expand interaction and cooperation with the agency with goodwill and mutual respect," he added.

[Also read: US, six Gulf allies slap sanctions on dozens of Iran-Hezbollah entities]

The agency is tasked with monitoring Tehran's nuclear activity and assess its compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal struck between Iran, the United States and several European countries. The deal has however been subsequently severely undermined by the Washington’s abandonment of it last year.

Tehran has since retaliated by suspending its compliance with parts of the deal until the repeated sanctions are lifted.

Tensions between Tehran and Washington have escalated sharply since the Trump administration abruptly left the nuclear deal and reimposed crippling sanctions on Iran. The European parties - Britain, France and Germany – have said repeatedly that they are committed to saving the agreement but their efforts have not been successful so far.

"The path for diplomacy is open... the Europeans and especially the French are still trying to act on their commitments," Mousavi told state television.

Yet the attempts have so far "failed to reach any tangible results" and "if the situation goes on as it is, (Iran) will most probably take the fourth step."

Iran has said it will unveil a fourth package of measures on Monday.

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