Adherence to JCPOA Confirmed by IAEA

Adherence to JCPOA Confirmed by IAEAAdherence to JCPOA Confirmed by IAEA

Iran is complying with the July 2015 landmark nuclear deal with major powers, a report from the UN atomic watchdog said on Friday.

The International Atomic Energy Agency's first assessment since the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the formal name of the deal, came into force on January 16 showed that Iran was meeting its main commitments, AFP reported.

As agreed, Iran "has not pursued the construction of the existing Arak heavy water research reactor" and has "not enriched uranium" above the low levels, the IAEA report said.

In return for certain temporary curbs on Tehran’s nuclear program, UN and western sanctions, including those on its lifeblood oil exports, were lifted.

The curbs included cutting by two-thirds its installed uranium centrifuges, reducing its stockpile of uranium and removing the core of the Arak heavy water reactor.

Iran’s stockpile of low-enriched uranium, material which can be used for peaceful purposes but when further processed for a nuclear weapon, has not risen above the agreed level of 300 kilos.

The Vienna-based IAEA added that “all stored centrifuges and associated infrastructure have remained in storage under continuous agency monitoring” and no enriched uranium has been accumulated through research and development activities.

Centrifuges are machines that enrich uranium by increasing the proportion of a fissile isotope, rendering it suitable for other purposes.

Throughout the 12-year standoff that preceded the deal, Iran always denied wanting nuclear weapons, saying its activities are exclusively for peaceful purposes such as power generation.

The IAEA report did also say that Iran briefly went above the agreed need of 130 tons of “heavy water” for the Arak reactor by 900 kilos since the deal went into force. However, this is not expected to be seen as a major violation of the nuclear agreement.

The stockpile had reached 130.9 tons but fell when Iran shipped 20 tons out of the country on Wednesday. The IAEA verified the amount that was shipped. The Wall Street Journal cited an unnamed diplomat saying the IAEA allows for a margin of error of 1 percentage point in such measurements, which means that Iran was not technically over the limit.

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Russia has praised the report as positive.

“Director General Yukiya Amano confirms that Tehran is observing all of its liabilities under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action,” Russia’s envoy to the IAEA, Vladimir Voronkov, told TASS.

“Iran is fully implementing provisions of the additional protocol to the agreement on IAEA guarantees and modified Code 3.1 in respect of the two future power units at Bushehr.”

Voronkov said the report “is well balanced and meets the requirements of the agency’s resolution.”

“Our first impression is positive,” the Russian diplomat said, adding that the report means the beginning of “movement toward an extended conclusion on the absence of undeclared nuclear material or nuclear activities in Iran.”

The mid-July implementation day came after the UN nuclear agency submitted the results of its investigations into Iran’s nuclear past to its board of governors, confirming the Islamic Republic’s compliance with the JCPOA commitments to roll back its nuclear program.

The agency is now tasked with monitoring Tehran to verify that it keeps in place the curbs on its nuclear work for at least a decade.