Iran says ready for talks with UN nuclear watchdog chief
President Hassan Rouhani said Wednesday that Iran is ready to hold talks with the UN nuclear watchdog chief, ahead of a next week deadline set by lawmakers for the suspension of some inspections, AFP reports.
Rouhani stressed that Iran would not cease working with the International Atomic Energy Agency or expel its inspectors after the new measure takes effect next Tuesday.
Iran has notified the watchdog that it will suspend "voluntary transparency measures", notably inspection visits to non-nuclear sites, including military sites suspected of nuclear-related activity, if the United States has not lifted the sweeping sanctions then president Donald Trump reimposed in 2018.
The provision has stoked international concern about a possible expulsion of UN inspectors, in what would be a huge blow to confidence in the nuclear deal Iran struck with major powers in 2015.
But Rouhani's government has stressed repeatedly that it has no desire to see an end to inspections of its nuclear facilities and is ready to return to full compliance with the nuclear accord just as soon as Washington does so too.
"Foreign propaganda has started, saying that you are expelling IAEA inspectors. Why are you lying?" Rouhani said in televised remarks to his cabinet.
"Not only we will not expel (anyone), but even the IAEA's director has now requested to come to Tehran, and he can.
"If he wants to negotiate, he can negotiate," Rouhani said, emphasising that the new measure approved by parliament "is not about our nuclear activity being left uninspected".