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Head of UN atomic watchdog to visit Tehran next week

TEHRAN, Iran – The head of the UN nuclear watchdog will visit Tehran on Monday to discuss Iran’s nuclear program, the spokesperson for the Iranian atomic agency said, as several key dates approach .

The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Rafael Grossi, on November 12 expressed his concern at the lack of contact with the Iranian government, calling it “astonishing”.

He said he hoped to meet with Iranian officials before the next IAEA Board of Governors meeting, scheduled for November 22.

Iran responded three days later by inviting the UN nuclear chief to Tehran.

The head of the agency “will arrive on the evening of Monday, November 22 in Tehran,” Iranian atomic agency spokesman told Fars news agency today.

Grossi will meet with Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian and Iranian atomic agency chief Mohammad Eslami, the spokesperson added.

Grossi’s last visit to Tehran was in September, when he said he had “technical discussions” with Eslami.

He reached an agreement on access to monitoring equipment at Iranian nuclear facilities, but had hoped to return to the country soon for more in-depth discussions.

Grossi’s visit precedes the resumption of nuclear talks in Vienna on November 29, which had stalled since June. The talks aim to restore a 2015 deal that offered Tehran sanctions relief in return for significant restrictions on its nuclear activities.

The United States unilaterally withdrew from the deal in 2018 under the administration of then-President Donald Trump, but talks to revive it began earlier this year.

The Vienna talks will bring together the other parties to the deal – Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia – while the United States will participate indirectly in the negotiations.

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