Iran hopes new UN nuclear chief will act 'neutrally'

Argentina's Rafael Grossi, the new head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, at a Board of Governors meeting in Vienna, Austria, on Oct 30 2019.
Argentina's Rafael Grossi, the new head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, at a Board of Governors meeting in Vienna, Austria, on Oct 30 2019.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

TEHERAN (AFP) - Iran said on Thursday (Oct 31) it hopes the UN nuclear watchdog will act "neutrally" under its new head and vowed to maintain cooperation with its inspectors monitoring a landmark 2015 nuclear deal.

Argentina's Rafael Grossi took the helm of the International Atomic Energy Agency on Tuesday following the death of his predecessor, Yukiya Amano of Japan, in July.

The UN agency is tasked with monitoring Teheran's nuclear activities to assess its compliance with the 2015 agreement with major powers, which has been severely undermined by Washington's abandonment of it in May last year.

Iran hopes that during Grossi's tenure, the IAEA "can neutrally and professionally undertake its international responsibilities and sensitive missions", Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said in a statement.

"Iran is ready to maintain and expand interaction and cooperation with the agency with goodwill and mutual respect," he added.

Tensions with the United States have escalated sharply since it began reimposing crippling unilateral sanctions lifted under the nuclear deal.

Teheran has hit back by suspending its compliance with parts of the deal until sanctions relief is restored.

It is due to unveil a fourth package of measures next Monday.