Salehi Defends JCPOA’s Technical Aspects

Salehi Defends JCPOA’s Technical AspectsSalehi Defends JCPOA’s Technical Aspects

The head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran defended the nuclear pact reached between Iran and world powers last July, saying he takes responsibility for technical aspects of the deal.

Speaking in an annual meeting with the officials and personnel of AEOI on the occasion of the new Iranian year (started March 20) on Saturday, Ali Akbar Salehi added that although Iran has accepted some restrictions on research and development associated with uranium enrichment for eight years, there will be no obstacle to reaching the main goal of Iran’s peaceful nuclear program, which is generating large amounts of electricity.

“With regard to the technical aspects of JCPOA, I take the responsibility ... We know what we have done,” IRNA quoted Salehi as saying.

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action is the formal name of the nuclear pact, which was implemented on January 16 to place Tehran’s nuclear program under temporary constraints in exchange for relief from international sanctions.

During two years of nuclear negotiations between Iran and P5+1 (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany), Salehi was a senior member of Tehran’s negotiating team and provided technical assistance to Iranian negotiators.

Pointing to Tehran’s achievements in the nuclear talks with major powers, the nuclear chief said that before the deal, some 9,000 first-generation IR-1 centrifuges (with an enrichment output of about one Separative Work Unit) were enriching uranium at Iran’s nuclear facilities of Natanz and Fordo, and after the implementation of the deal, the number decreased to 5,000, but this limitation is not significant because it is temporary and the reduction of produced fuel is negligible, compared to what Iran will need in the future.

In the long run, Salehi said Iran should produce at least 190,000 SWUs of enriched uranium to provide the Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant with enough fuel, while it has plans for building new nuclear plants with the help of other countries, especially Russia and China.

He also said the country should devote efforts to decrease the cost of domestic fuel.

“Our budget comes from people’s pockets. We cannot produce [nuclear] fuel that is several times more expensive than the international price,” he said.

Salehi, who is also a vice president, touched on Russia’s delay in starting the construction project of two new 1,000-MW power plants in Bushehr, saying it will probably start in the current Iranian year.

“According to our contract with Russia, the project to build the new plants was supposed to start last year, but it was delayed due to some technical issues. We hope the work will commence this year,” he said.

Back in July, Salehi had said Tehran was conducting negotiations with China to construct two 100-MW nuclear power plants in Iran.