JCPOA Can Take Effect After IAEA Assessment

JCPOA Can Take Effect After IAEA AssessmentJCPOA Can Take Effect After IAEA Assessment

The head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran said the implementation of the recently signed nuclear deal with major powers will not be subject to full settlement of issues with the International Atomic Energy Agency regarding Iran's past nuclear activities.

On July 14, the same day that Iran reached the deal with the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany) over its nuclear program, it signed an agreement with the UN nuclear agency on a roadmap to resolve outstanding issues by the end of this year.

According to the agreement, implementation of activities undertaken by Iran as part of the roadmap agreement will be completed by October 15, 2015, and subsequently IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano will provide the final assessment on the resolution of all past and present outstanding issues to the UN agency's board of governors.

Ali Akbar Salehi was quoted by IRNA as telling state TV on Sunday, "In its assessment report, the agency may not announce the case of past issues is closed."

"However, the IAEA's move (to issue the report) will suffice to allow the implementation of the pact to start," he said, adding, "The deal will come into effect no matter what the results of the agency's assessment."

As negotiated under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (the official name of the nuclear accord), the UN adopted a resolution on July 20 to endorse the deal.

The Additional Protocol will be ratified by the Majlis either after eight years, starting from a mutually determined date or the ninetieth day after the adoption of the UN resolution, or when the IAEA has reached the broader conclusion that all nuclear material in Iran remains in peaceful activities, whichever is earlier, Salehi pointed out.

***Odds of Backtracking Low

In response to a question about the odds of the other side backtracking on its commitments, he said it would be unlikely for the P5+1 to "make up feeble excuses to break the deal after they have spent so much time to clinch it. This would be a regression."

He said, "We have agreed to voluntarily start implementing the protocol as of the day the deal comes into force" to ultimately convince the agency to confirm Iran is not engaged in any undeclared nuclear activities.

Elsewhere, Salehi's US counterpart Ernest Moniz said in an interview with CNN on Sunday that under the deal, UN inspectors will have unlimited access to declared nuclear facilities.

"The IAEA, the international inspectors, can have daily access to these facilities."

As for suspected undeclared sites, Iran has up to 24 days to comply with a request for inspection, he noted.

"This 24-day process is what would apply to undeclared sites that we, the international community, the IAEA suspect is having undeclared nuclear activities."

Asked whether all the parties to the talks with Iran would go along with the decision to re-impose sanctions in the event of Tehran breaching the agreement, Moniz said, "We have every reason to believe so. Russia and China, as well as our European partners, were all very constructive members of this negotiation."

Referring to the level of cooperation among international negotiating partners, he said, "This really was a six-nation negotiation.... And sure, we had to negotiate among ourselves because there are lots of tradeoffs in this."

"For example, even the one-year breakout time, there are many ways to achieve that and different countries weighted things differently. But I think in the end, in that case, our scientists from all six countries worked very, very well together."

The so-called "breakout time" is the time it would take Iran to accumulate enough fissile material to build a nuclear bomb if it decided so. Iran denies it may be seeking to develop a nuclear weapons capability, saying its program is solely for peaceful applications.  

Commenting on the claims by some critics of the pact that the accord should have provided for the destruction of centrifuges rather than merely their disconnection and that Iran still has thousands of such centrifuges in storage somewhere which it could quickly reconnect, the US energy secretary said, "It is actually incorrect."

"I read that as well - it is incorrect. The issue of rebuilding centrifuges and infrastructure is in fact part of the breakout calculations that our laboratory scientists have done."

"I might add that these negotiations were constantly supported by the nation's top nuclear scientists and engineers, and it is simply incorrect that those factors weren't included," he noted.