IAEA Confirms Iran Commitment to Interim Deal

IAEA Confirms Iran Commitment to Interim DealIAEA Confirms Iran Commitment to Interim Deal

Iran is taking further action to comply with an interim nuclear agreement with the six major powers, a monthly UN nuclear agency report showed.

The report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), seen by Reuters, made clear that Iran is meeting its commitments under the temporary deal, as it and the major powers seek to negotiate a final settlement of the decade-old dispute over Tehran's nuclear program by a November 24 target date.

The spokesperson for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, Behrouz Kamalvandi, told IRNA on Tuesday that the IAEA report confirms Iran has adhered to its commitments, adding that it can positively affect nuclear talks with the major powers.  

****Diluting Enriched Uranium  

The report said Iran had diluted more than 4,100 kg of uranium enriched to a fissile concentration of up to 2 percent down to the level of natural uranium. This was one of the additional steps Iran agreed to undertake when the six-month accord that took effect early this year was extended by four months in July.

The IAEA is tasked with checking that Iran is living up to its part of the interim agreement, which was designed to buy time for the current talks on a comprehensive solution of the stand-off.

Iran denies Western allegations that it has been working to develop a capability to make nuclear bombs, saying its nuclear work is meant only for peaceful purposes, such as electricity generation.

After years of escalating tensions between Iran and the West, the election in mid-2013 of Hassan Rouhani as president on a platform of improving Tehran's international relations created new room for diplomacy that ultimately led to last year's breakthrough nuclear deal.

But it remains unclear whether Iran and the six states will meet the self-imposed November 24 deadline for hammering out a longer-lasting deal which would impose temporary constraints on Iran's nuclear activities in exchange for a phasing-out of economic sanctions.

The initial aim was for Iran and the United States, France, Germany, China, Russia and Germany to clinch the agreement in July. But the talks were extended in view of persistently wide differences over the future size of Iran's enrichment program.

****Manufacturing Fuel

Under the preliminary accord, Iran halted its most contested nuclear work -- enrichment of uranium to a higher fissile concentration of 20 percent -- in exchange for a limited easing of sanctions. It also converted its stockpile of the material into oxide from gas.

Over the four months of the deal's extension, Iran is to receive $2.8 billion in previously frozen oil revenue held in banks abroad, in addition to the $4.2 billion it got earlier.

In exchange, it agreed to take some additional nuclear steps, including making nuclear fuel for a research reactor and diluting a large amount of low-enriched uranium. Apart from the dilution, Monday's IAEA report said Iran since July had used 17.1 kg of 20 percent uranium in oxide form to manufacture fuel.

****Transparency Measures

Reuters also quoted the head of the UN atomic energy agency as saying on Monday that Iran has still not implemented all the nuclear transparency measures it had agreed to carry out by late August.

Iran says it has started implementing the remaining measures, citing the "complexity" of the issues as the reason why it was not able to meet the target date.

Western officials say Iran should step up cooperation with the IAEA if it wants to settle the protracted nuclear dispute with the major powers and be rid of financial sanctions.

Iran has not answered two questions about alleged experiments and studies that might be used to develop nuclear arms.

"In order to resolve all outstanding issues, it is very important that Iran implements, in a timely manner, all practical measures agreed under the Framework for Cooperation," Yukiya Amano said. That accord was reached with Tehran last year to help advance the agency's further investigation into the country's nuclear work.

The IAEA has been trying to investigate alleged Western intelligence reports suggesting Iran may have been trying to design nuclear weapons. Iran says the intelligence was fabricated by its foes.

Tehran said last month the IAEA lacked "substantiated" evidence. Diplomats say the United States and its Western allies as well as Israel have provided information on Iran to the IAEA.