Araqchi: IAEA’s Iran Office Legitimate

Araqchi: IAEA’s Iran Office LegitimateAraqchi: IAEA’s Iran Office Legitimate

A deputy foreign minister said the UN nuclear agency's move to open an office dealing specifically with Iran's nuclear program is legitimate and in line with the agency's commitments under the nuclear accord to verify Tehran's compliance.

"In order to effectively fulfill their heavy responsibility to verify the implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action [the official title of the nuclear deal], Mr. Amano and his colleagues have decided to establish an office, against which we have no objection," Abbas Araqchi told ICANA on Tuesday.

In an address to the IAEA board of governors in Vienna on Monday, the agency's director general, Yukiya Amano, announced the establishment of the Office of Iran Safeguards Verification in the IAEA's Department of Safeguards on March 1.

Araqchi, who is also the head of the Foreign Ministry's office for the implementation of the nuclear deal, added that it is not beyond IAEA's normal practices.

According to the IAEA website, Amano told the board members, "The agency has found no indication of the diversion of declared nuclear material from peaceful nuclear activities in Iran. Iran's Additional Protocol has been provisionally implemented since January 16, 2016."

In a separate development, the US State Department spokesman was asked in his daily press conference to comment on Amano's statement "apparently" indicating that the UN agency's reports on Tehran's nuclear program are "less stringent and less detailed" than those released before the nuclear agreement.

"What matters to us is that [Iranians] are in fact meeting their commitments, and so I don't want to parse their assessment that information now is less detailed than it was before … But as long as Iran continues to meet its commitments under the JCPOA that's what matters, and that's what we want to see," John Kirby said.

"And while I will let the IAEA speak to their reports, including this one, we've certainly seen no indication that they are not meeting their commitments under the JCPOA, and that's what matters most," he added, according to a transcript of his remarks carried by the website of the US Department of State.