Removal of Inactive Centrifuges in Weeks

Removal of Inactive Centrifuges in WeeksRemoval of Inactive Centrifuges in Weeks

The dismantling of inactive centrifuges at Fordo and Natanz nuclear facilities as part of Iran's commitments under the July 14 nuclear agreement with major powers will be completed in a fortnight, the spokesperson for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran said.

"So far, half of the 10,000 inactive centrifuges at the two sites has been removed. The rest will be removed within two weeks," Behrouz Kamalvandi added in an interview with state TV on Friday, Fars News Agency reported.

The accord, struck with P5+1 (the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China plus Germany), committed Iran to cutting by roughly two-thirds of installed centrifuges at its enrichment sites as part of time-bound restrictions it accepted on its nuclear program. In return, international sanctions against Tehran will be lifted.

Kamalvandi's remarks came after UN inspectors reported that Iran had taken out 4,500 centrifuges, around a quarter of its estimated 19,000 total, suggesting Iran has some way to go before all its commitments are met.

Alongside the comprehensive accord, Iran signed an agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency on a roadmap to conclude the agency's inquiry into what it calls possible military dimensions of Tehran's past nuclear activities.

Iran has always denied its nuclear program may have been meant to develop a nuclear warhead.

The roadmap set a mid-December deadline for the IAEA to submit a report of its final assessment of the issue to its board of governors.

In a letter to President Hassan Rouhani last month, the Leader of Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei subjected Iran's action to meet its nuclear commitments to the conclusion of the IAEA probe. Under the comprehensive international deal, Iran is to keep 5,000 centrifuges in operation.

"After inactive centrifuges are removed, we will begin dismantling active ones," Kamalvandi said. "However, we will not go ahead until we ensure that Iran's nuclear case [in the UN agency] has been closed on December 15."

Kamalvandi added that a technical meeting will be held with the agency in Vienna on Tuesday.

There has been speculation that the IAEA's report might come out before the target date of December 15.

In a separate development, Reza Najafi, Iran's envoy to the UN agency, met IAEA Deputy Director General Tero Varjoranta in the Austrian capital.

Najafi quoted Varjoranta as saying in the meeting that "the agency is compiling the final assessment and will likely publish it on December 1."