0841 GMT December 14, 2019
Acting IAEA Director General Cornel Feruta, who is heading the agency provisionally after the death of its longtime chief Yukiya Amano in July, reported progress on Friday, Reuters reported.
The International Atomic Energy Agency polices Iran’s nuclear deal signed with major powers in 2015.
“Some engagement is ongoing, and this engagement is currently taking place,” Feruta told reporters.
The progress was the result of meetings with various senior Iranian officials in recent weeks, he said.
“This is an ongoing process ... I cannot prejudge how this is going to end. The engagement doesn’t mean that the issues are completely addressed, but it’s a step in the right direction,” Feruta said.
At the same time, Iran continues on its course of reducing its commitments to the nuclear deal in retaliation for the US withdrawal from the deal in 2018 and the Europe’s failure to fulfill its commitments to the nuclear agreement also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
Iran and the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council – the United States, France, Britain, Russia and China – plus Germany signed the JCPOA on July 14, 2015 and started implementing it on January 16, 2016.
Under the deal, Iran undertook to put limits on its nuclear program in exchange for the removal of nuclear-related sanctions.
However, US President Donald Trump pulled his country out of the international nuclear deal in May last year and stepped up sanctions on the Islamic Republic.
Since May 2019, Iran has rowed back on its nuclear commitments three times in compliance with articles 26 and 36 of the JCPOA.
Iran says its reciprocal measures will be reversible as soon as Europe finds practical ways to shield the Iranian economy from unilateral US sanctions, which were imposed last year when Washington withdrew from the nuclear deal.
The European signatories to the JCPOA have so far failed to uphold their commitments. They have expressed vocal support for the deal, but failed to provide meaningful economic incentives as required under the nuclear agreement.
A candidate, who is running for the post of the IAEA chief, called for goodwill to be offered to Iran instead of sanctions in order to save the 2015 nuclear deal.
Marta Ziakova said in an interview with Reuters on Thursday that the nuclear deal can still be saved despite the US withdrawal only if Tehran is offered some goodwill instead of sanctions in exchange for return to the full implementation of its commitments under the landmark deal.
"The remaining parties so-called E3+2 countries including China, France, Germany, Russia and the United Kingdom, that are still committed to the deal should find a way to help Iran in this difficult situation (to show) that deals should be honored," Ziakova said.
"Iran hasn't got much for keeping its part of the deal so far but it has to return to the full implementation of its commitments under the deal… There is always a point of return," she added.
The 63-year-old Slovak also criticized the US withdrawal from the accord as “unfortunate.”