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Blinken meets IAEA director-general for talks on Iran, N. Korea

All News 06:25 October 19, 2021

By Byun Duk-kun

WASHINGTON, Oct. 18 (Yonhap) -- U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on Monday for talks on a wide range of issues that the chief of the nuclear watchdog said will include North Korea.

The meeting between Blinken and IAEA Director-General Rafael Grossi marked the first of its kind since the top U.S. diplomat took office in January.

"The United States strongly supports the work of the IAEA. It is critical to helping to maintain international peace and stability. It's obviously playing a vital role in monitoring Iran's nuclear activities, and it plays a critical role in helping to forge cooperation on the peaceful uses of nuclear power," Blinken said at the top of their meeting in Washington.

"So there's a lot to talk about today. Needless to say Iran is a big part of the focus," he added.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken (R) seen speaking at a joint press event with Rafael Grossi, director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, before their meeting at the State Department in Washington on Oct. 18, 2021 in this image captured from the department's Youtube channel. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

Monday's meeting comes as the U.S. is seeking to bring Iran back to joint compliance with a multilateral nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Iran left the nuclear deal soon after the U.S.' own departure in 2018.

Grossi said he and Blinken had many other issues, including North Korea, to discuss.

"Like the secretary just said we have a vast agenda in front of us, ranging from important political issues like Iran or the situation (in) DPRK and the other parts of the world, and also how the United States is supporting as to our work, peaceful uses of nuclear energy," he said, referring to North Korea by its official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

North Korea has stayed away from denuclearization negotiations with the U.S. since 2019, while many believe the country continues to advance its nuclear and missile capabilities.

The North staged its sixth and last nuclear test in late 2017.

bdk@yna.co.kr
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