Tehran Confident of PMD File Closure

Tehran Confident of  PMD File ClosureTehran Confident of  PMD File Closure

Based on the recent report by the UN nuclear agency containing its assessment of Iran's past nuclear program, Iranian officials are confident that the agency's board of governors will close Tehran's nuclear past case, a key step toward implementing the July 14 nuclear deal with major powers.

The pact was negotiated with P5+1 (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany) to settle a 12-year standoff over Iran's nuclear program by subjecting it to temporary constraints and giving Tehran sanctions relief in return.

The International Atomic Energy Agency was required under the deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, to investigate western allegations that there has been a military side to Iran's past nuclear activities.

Iran has denied the allegations as "false", based on fabricated intelligence provided by the likes of the United States and Israel.

A roadmap agreement signed with the IAEA alongside the more comprehensive JCPOA committed the agency to compile its final assessment into a report and submit it by a December 15 deadline for action by the board of governors.

The board will use the assessment to decide whether to adopt a resolution drafted by P5+1, in their capacity as the board's members, with a view to closing the Vienna-based agency's inquiry into what it calls possible military dimensions of Tehran's nuclear past.

Abbas Araqchi, the head of the Foreign Ministry's office for implementation of the action plan, said as the report indicates, the board is determined to close the PMD matter.

"So any decision other than the closure of the issue will be unlikely," he was quoted as saying by IRNA on Thursday.

***Roadmap Commitments Met

A day earlier, the UN agency circulated its final report to its member states.

The report said Iran has honored its commitments under the roadmap to provide the IAEA with enough data on its nuclear past, allowing the agency to draw up its report.

"All the activities contained in the roadmap were implemented in accordance with the agreed schedule. Iran provided explanations in writing and related documents on past and present outstanding issues, the agency submitted questions on ambiguities relating to Iran's explanations and technical-expert meetings were held."

The IAEA claimed in the report that until 2003 Iran had been moving toward developing a nuclear weapons capability through a "coordinated effort", limited to "feasibility and scientific studies" though.

"The agency has no credible indications of activities in Iran relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device after 2009," the report admitted.

Shortly after the report was released, US State Department spokesman, Mark Toner, said in a daily press briefing, "This roadmap was critically important for Iran to show that it was willing to fulfill the necessary steps in a process to address the PMD issue with the IAEA, and the IAEA has confirmed that Iran has done so."

***Sound Basis to Conclude Inquiry

Toner said the report has provided the board of governors with what they need to conclude the agency's consideration of Iran's case, according to a transcript of his comments carried by the website of the Department of State.

The board's verdict is crucial to the lifting of sanctions after Iran has completed the measures agreed under the JCPOA, including the dismantling of installed centrifuges at its nuclear enrichment facilities and the redesign of the Arak heavy water reactor.

Araqchi echoed the insistence of the Leader of Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei that if Iran is to implement its nuclear-related measures, the PMD dossier must first be closed.

"If the file is not closed or a possibility, though small, is left open for reopening the case later, the JCPOA will not go into full effect," the senior nuclear negotiator said.

***Once And for All

Reza Najafi, the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, predicted that the case will be closed "once and for all", as there is no indication in the report suggesting otherwise.

"They were not able to come up with any evidence to support their bogus allegations. So the long-running case will be closed once and for all."

Najafi, who is also Iran's envoy to IAEA, said on Wednesday the key point in the report was the agency's acknowledgement of non-diversion in Tehran's nuclear program toward military purposes.

"The agency has found no credible indications of the diversion of nuclear material in connection with the possible military dimensions to Iran's nuclear program," the report said.