US Officials: JCPOA Implementation Faster Than Expected

US Officials: JCPOA Implementation  Faster Than ExpectedUS Officials: JCPOA Implementation  Faster Than Expected

Iran has been implementing the curbs on its nuclear program under the landmark deal with major powers faster than many anticipated and could meet its obligations for the lifting of some sanctions as soon as January, according to some US officials monitoring the agreement.

Iran's nuclear deal includes a key target known as Implementation Day.

No specific date was set when the agreement was reached last July to great fanfare, NPR reported. Implementation Day will arrive when international inspectors determine that Iran has taken initial steps to curb its nuclear program. In turn, Iran will get sanctions relief as promised in the deal, formally called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

The US administration officials say the deal was frontloaded, requiring Iran to take the first steps. The country must remove some two-thirds of its nuclear centrifuges and ship out or dilute a large portion of its enriched uranium.

Many analysts predicted this would not happen until the spring of 2016. But Iran says it plans to fulfill its part by January and the International Atomic Energy Agency, which is inspecting Iran's facilities, says this is possible.

Stephen Mull, the US official who oversees the implementation of the JCPOA, calls this "crunch time".

"It is up to [the Iranians] to decide when they can do all this and the fact that they are doing it rather [more] quickly than anyone expected, we have a challenge to ensure that every step is verified perfectly," Mull said recently at a conference on Iran held at the Atlantic Council in Washington.

Under the deal removing some sanctions, "non-US parties will be able to purchase unlimited amounts of crude oil, of gas from Iran without risk of US sanctions," notes Adam Szubin of the Treasury Department.

"Iran will regain access to the international financial system, by and large. The Central Bank of Iran will be allowed to move money and [have] access to its reserves."

Szubin says Americans will soon be able to import Iranian carpets, pistachios and caviar, and US companies will be free to sell aircraft parts to Iran.