Iranian nuclear chief Mohammad Eslami (R) meets with IAEA head Rafael Mariano Grossi in Tehran, Iran, on Tuesday. Photo by AEOI via EPA-EFE
Nov. 23 (UPI) -- The head of the United Nations' top nuclear watchdog met with Iranian officials on Tuesday in an effort for greater access to the country's nuclear facilities for inspectors.
International Atomic Energy Agency Director-general Rafael Grossi met with the officials in Tehran. The meeting occurred ahead of diplomatic talks in Vienna to save the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.
The IAEA is pushing for greater access to Iranian facilities, which have increase uranium enrichment to record levels after former U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew from the nuclear deal in 2018. President Joe Biden has expressed willingness to rejoin the pact, but his administration has said time is running out.
"Our work has been intense," IAEA head Rafael Grossi said of his meeting with Iran nuclear chief Mohammad Eslami, according to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. "The agency is seeking to continue and deepen the dialogue with the government of Iran.
"We agreed to continue our joint work on transparency and this will continue. We are continuing at this point the negotiations with a view to find a common ground. We are multiplying our efforts with a view to conclude our exchanges today."
Eslami said that Iran fully intends to pursue civilian nuclear activities and insists that Tehran has remained in compliance with international regulations.
"What is of paramount importance is that Iran is strong-minded to pursue its nuclear program," Eslami said, according to Iran's state-run PressTV. "Utilization of all aspects of nuclear technology is high on our agenda and the IAEA will provide assistance in this regard."
Iran said nearly a year ago that it would suspend U.N. inspections at nuclear facilities if European signatories to the nuclear deal didn't take steps to revoke economic sanctions against Tehran. Since February, U.N. inspectors have not been able to access security camera footage at the facilities.
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said Tuesday that Israel won't be bound by any future nuclear agreement between world powers and Iran, and that the country will act in its own interest.