JCPOA Pledges Fulfilled

JCPOA Pledges FulfilledJCPOA Pledges Fulfilled

The long-awaited implementation phase of last year's nuclear deal with major powers is "very close", as the two sides have complied with all requirements and are now preparing the final documents, an official with the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran said on Thursday.

The International Atomic Energy Agency was to submit a report on Friday to its board of governors and the UN Security Council, certifying Iran's full commitment to the terms of the accord, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, to subject its nuclear program to temporary curbs in return for sanctions relief.

The report would flag off the implementation of the deal, which will be formally announced in a joint statement on Saturday or Sunday by Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini.

"The two sides' practical measures have been completed and formal documents are being drawn up in Vienna" to prepare for the Implementation Day, said the spokesperson for Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, Behrouz Kamalvandi, IRNA reported.

"We are very close to the implementation phase."

The United States and the European Union took formal legal steps on October 18, the so-called adoption day, to lift sanctions on the Implementation Day, when Iran is judged to have carried out all the measures it officially adopted on the same day to scale back its nuclear program.

Iran had already fulfilled two of its commitments in the past weeks to reduce by two-thirds the number of centrifuges installed at the Fordo and Natanz enrichment facilities and give away quantities of low-enriched uranium in excess of 300 kg.

The Implementation Day was pending a third requirement to reconfigure the Arak heavy water reactor that could produce plutonium, a potential alternative to enriched uranium for use in making a nuclear bomb.

Tehran has regularly denied even having considered developing a nuclear weapons capability.

***Reactor's Core Removed

Kamalvandi said Iran has fully met its side of the deal by removing the core of the reactor and filling it with concrete on Wednesday.

"The core of the Arak reactor was removed and the holes were filled with cement yesterday ... and IAEA inspectors will visit the site later today to verify it and report it to the IAEA," Kamalvandi said.

"The core was initially supposed to be cut into parts but we did not accept it as we want to keep it as the symbol of Iran's nuclear industry."

Nuclear negotiator and Foreign Ministry's director general for political and international security affairs, Hamid Baeidinejad, who was leading an expert team in talks with delegations from the United States and the European Union on Thursday about the procedures for lifting the sanctions, said the two sides now have reached the last stop on the path to the Implementation Day.

"The final round of discussions started yesterday and is expected to end today. Afterward, we will begin making arrangements for the Implementation Day," he said.