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UN Nuclear Agency Leaves Iran Without Announcing Breakthrough

A delegation of officials from the International Atomic Energy Agency has left Iran after talks with the country’s head of nuclear energy without a clear result from the visit.

Reuters reports, citing Iranian media, that the visit was organized as part of an investigation into allegations that traces of uranium were found at sites the Iranian authorities had not declared as locations of nuclear energy development.

The topic is one of the few sticking points left in the negotiations with the United States aimed at removing the sanctions that the Trump administration imposed on Tehran. As part of the talks, brokered by the EU, Iran has undertaken to curb its nuclear program.

The talks with the U.S. were going in a promising direction until early September when Iran sent a written response to the latest proposals of the United States and the latter said it was not “constructive”, suggesting the talks were about to stall yet again.

The U.S. and the EU then said Iran was making unreasonable demands and talks indeed stalled, with no development in that respect reported since September.

A month later, the U.S. said it was not prioritizing the talks with Iran because of perceived insufficient interest from the Iranian side. That side, for its part, signaled it was ready to return to the nuclear deal it used to have with the West, with only one problem left to solve: nuclear safeguards.

"Iran is ready to return to its JCPOA (nuclear deal) obligations. Many problems have been resolved in the negotiations, now the only issue is safeguards," a senior adviser to Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said.

"We hope that this matter will be resolved during the visit of the (U.N. nuclear) agency's delegation to Tehran."

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This does not seem to have been the case, however, further reducing hopes that a deal could be closed any time soon.

By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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