Commitment to Interim Deal Reconfirmed

Commitment to Interim Deal Reconfirmed  Commitment to Interim Deal Reconfirmed

Iran is honoring its commitment not to expand nuclear activities while it negotiates with the six major powers on a lasting nuclear deal, according to a report by the UN nuclear agency released on Tuesday.

Under an interim nuclear deal with the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany) which was signed in November 2013 in Geneva, Iran agreed to accept temporary constraints on its nuclear work in exchange for limited sanctions relief until a long-term settlement to the long-running dispute over Tehran's nuclear program is worked out. Iran and the major powers are now in talks in pursuit of a comprehensive deal until the self-imposed June 30 deadline.

Obtained by The Associated Press shortly after it was posted on the internal website of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the report could be used by the White House to argue that Iran is negotiating seriously.

The US administration is pushing back against the threat of new sanctions on Iran being floated by a bipartisan group of US senators, with US President Barack Obama warning that new sanctions could scuttle the talks. The United States and some of its allies claim Iran may have been seeking to develop the capability to build nuclear weapons. Iran denies the allegation and says its nuclear activities are solely for peaceful purposes, but it agreed under the Geneva deal to stop expanding uranium enrichment and other atomic activities while negotiating.

The monthly IAEA update said Iran continued to observe its obligations, including not enriching uranium above 5 percent, diluting or converting most of its stockpile of 20 percent enriched uranium, not advancing work at the Fordo underground uranium enrichment facility and maintaining a construction freeze on nearly finished Arak heavy water reactor.

Diplomats said on Tuesday the latest negotiating round ending on the weekend in Geneva made some progress, but differences persist over uranium enrichment and other issues.