Head of nuclear inspectors to visit Iran as hardline leaders cast doubt on possible new deal with US

The chief of the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog Rafael Grossi is expected to visit Iran, as Tehran casts doubt on a possible new deal with the United States under the Biden administration.

Grossi is set to hold meetings with Iranian officials in Tehran on this week, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) confirmed.

The meeting is set to take place before indirect talks between Iran and the United States on Nov. 29, Reuters reported. The U.S. and Tehran are expected to discuss the potential to restart the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA, the nuclear deal with Iran.

The United States pulled out of the landmark 2015 deal in 2018, after then-President Donald Trump said the pact needed to be renegotiated. The deal had promised Iran economic incentives in exchange for curbs on its nuclear program. The Trump administration re-imposed heavy sanctions on the Islamic republic in an unsuccessful attempt to bring Tehran into new talks.

Iran reacted by steadily increasing its violations of the deal, which is intended to prevent the country from obtaining nuclear weapons. Iran began enriching uranium to a greater purity, stockpiling more than allowed and beginning to use more advanced centrifuges in an attempt to pressure the world powers remaining in the deal – Germany, France, Britain, Russia and China – for economic relief.

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