JCPOA in Final Stretch

JCPOA in Final StretchJCPOA in Final Stretch

Iran is taking final steps to comply with one of the key terms of the nuclear deal, namely the removal of the core of the Arak heavy water reactor, the spokesman of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran said on Tuesday.

"The organization is to complete the agreed measures so the deal can be implemented," Behrouz Kamalvandi also told IRNA on Tuesday.

Fars News Agency had reported on Monday that Tehran had taken out the core of the reactor and filled it with cement as part of measures agreed under the accord, reached with major powers on July 14 to grant Iran sanctions relief in exchange for curbs for specified durations on its nuclear program.

The fate of the reactor in central Iran was one of the toughest sticking points in the long nuclear negotiations that led to the agreement, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

Under the deal's terms, Iran accepted that the Arak reactor would be converted to a facility for producing much less plutonium.

The other side of the action plan has committed to participate in the redesign and construction of the modernized reactor.

Tehran has said the 40-megawatt heavy water plant is aimed at producing isotopes for cancer and other medical treatments. It has denied any of its nuclear activities is aimed at developing weapons.

Relief from sanctions is subject to confirmation by the UN nuclear agency that Iran has met all its commitments under the JCPOA.

Kamalvandi had said on Monday, "We have completed nearly all required measures. Only part of the work on the Arak [reactor] is left, which is expected to be completed shortly."

He said on Tuesday that the JCPOA will take full effect this Iranian month, which ends on January 20.

Separately, the European Union's foreign policy chief said EU nuclear-related sanctions on Iran could be lifted soon.

US Secretary of State John Kerry said last week that "we are days away from implementation, if all goes well."