IAEA satisfied by Iran commitment to nuclear deal: Amano

IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano attends a joint press conference with Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), in Tehran, December 18, 2016. (Photo by IRNA)

During a visit to Tehran, the head of the United Nations nuclear watchdog has expressed satisfaction with Iran’s commitment to its obligations under the 2015 nuclear accord with world powers.

“Iran has been committed to its obligations and this is an important matter,” the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)’s Director General Yukiya Amano said on Sunday at a joint press conference with Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI).

The nuclear accord, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), was signed between Iran and the P5+1 group of countries -- the US, Britain, Russia, France and China plus Germany -- last year in Vienna.

The IAEA is tasked with monitoring the technical implementation of the nuclear deal.

Since January, when the JCPOA took effect, the agency has confirmed Iran’s compliance in several reports.

“We are satisfied with the trend of the JCPOA’s implementation, and hope for this trend to continue,” added Amano, who is in Tehran on a one-day visit at the invitation of Salehi.

Concerning his meeting with Salehi, he said the two had discussed a range of issues, including heavywater, enriched uranium, Iran’s uranium stockpiles as well as research and development in the field of nuclear energy.

IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano and Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), answer to reporters’ questions at a joint press conference in Tehran, December 18, 2016. (Photo by IRNA)

Among other topics in the talks was a recent order by President Hassan Rouhani to the AEOI to plan work on nuclear propulsion devices to be used in sea transport, Amano added.

The Iranian chief executive issued the decree in response to the recent violation of the multilateral nuclear deal by the United States.​ The US Congress recently voted to extend Iran Sanctions Act (ISA), Washington’s sanctions law against Iran, for another 10 years. This is while Iran had all its nuclear-related sanctions removed on the back of the JCPOA. 

Salehi, in turn, said he had addressed cooperation with the IAEA on the JCPOA’s implementation.

He urged the IAEA to “act as an impartial international authority, whose reports do not reflect leverage or influence peddling by any party,” the Iranian official asserted, thanking the agency for “acting in such a manner so far” in its reports on the JCPOA’s implementation.

He said the two had addressed the presidential decree and how to implement it as well as Tehran’s obligations under the IAEA’s Nuclear Safeguards Agreement during the JCPOA’s implementation process.

Salehi also touched on Washington’s extension of the Iran Sanctions Act, saying Tehran “is ready to take whatever proportionate measure upon the decision of the Iranian establishment’s authorities.”

Later in the day, Amano sat down for talks with the Iranian president, who likewise called on the agency to produce impartial and technical reports on Iran.

“We expect that this international institution perform its responsibility in the area of technical cooperation, the transfer of peaceful nuclear technology, and nuclear trade, too,” President Rouhani said.

He said the JCPOA’s sustainability hinged on compliance by all parties, and added, “The Islamic Republic will honor its commitments as long as other parties honor theirs.”

Rouhani said some recent measures by the US, including the extension of the ISA, contravened the nuclear agreement. “The course the United States has taken vis-à-vis Iran will lead to the reduction of international confidence in the US government,” he said.

Amano, for his part, reiterated that Iran had lived up to its contractual obligations since the accord’s implementation. “The JCPOA was a big achievement, whose implementation the IAEA will support with all its might.”

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