Iran has invited the director of the International Atomic Energy Agency to visit it after criticizing its nuclear program.

Tehran announced on Wednesday that it had invited Croci to visit the country in May after International Atomic Energy Agency Director Rafael Grosi's criticism of Iran over uranium enrichment. On the other hand, Mohammad Islami, head of Iran's nuclear agency, rejected the agency's director's proposal to visit Iran next month. Iran continues to deny that it is pursuing nuclear weapons, but that has not allayed the fears of the West, which views Tehran's enrichment of uranium, which has reached 60 percent purity, with suspicion.

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I directed Iran International Atomic Energy Agency Director Rafael Grossi has been invited to visit the capital Tehran next May. The call came after Croci criticized Iran's uranium enrichment. The director said that the Islamic Republic continues to enrich beyond the needs for commercial use.

The head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization, Mohammad Islami, confirmed on Wednesday that he had invited Croci to speak at an international nuclear conference in Iran between May 6 and 8.

Croci recently expressed his desire to visit Iran, while the International Atomic Energy Agency faces difficulties in monitoring Iran's nuclear program, which Tehran still denies it intends to have a nuclear bomb.

He said he plans to travel to Tehran next month to discuss the “divergence” of relations between the agency and the Islamic Republic.

But Islamir said a visit next month was unlikely due to a “busy schedule” without providing further details. He added at a weekly news conference in Tehran, “Iran's communication with the International Atomic Energy Agency continues to be normal, and discussions are underway to resolve ambiguities and improve cooperation.”

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During his last trip in March 2023, Croci met with Iranian President Ibrahim Raisi and welcomed the “constructive discussions” he had with Iranian officials.

But in January, he lamented that Iran had “unprecedentedly” restricted its cooperation with the agency, which had become a “hostage” of the Islamic Republic.

Meeting in Vienna

On Wednesday, Croci met with Abram Bailey, the US special envoy to Iran, in Vienna.

A US State Department spokesman told the International Atomic Energy Agency director that Washington is “deeply concerned about the continued expansion of Iran's nuclear program, which is being carried out without credible civilian targets, particularly as it continues to produce enriched uranium.” Matthew Miller said during a press conference in Washington.

Although the pace of enrichment has slowed slightly since late last year, Iran is still enriching uranium to 60 percent purity at a high rate of seven kilograms per month, Grossi told Reuters on Monday.

Enrichment to 60 percent purity brings the uranium closer to weapons grade, making it unnecessary to produce nuclear power for commercial use. Iran has always denied that it is developing the capability to produce nuclear weapons and insists that the goals of its activities are peaceful.

Under a 2015 deal with world powers, Iran can only enrich uranium to 3.67 percent.

Tehran has been under heavy US sanctions since 2018 when US President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from the historic nuclear deal that eased sanctions on Iran.

Iran began phasing out its core obligations under the deal and then cut the pace of its enriched uranium production to 60 percent last year, following the start of informal talks aimed at easing tensions between them. But Iran did not hesitate to do so Speed By the end of 2023.

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In early February, days after announcing the construction of a complex of nuclear power plants in the south, Islami announced the groundbreaking for a new reactor in Isfahan (central).

The United Nations' International Atomic Energy Agency says the nuclear deal signed in 2015 has “virtually collapsed.”

France 24/AFP/Reuters

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