“As of today, measures agreed under the Joint Plan of Action (JPOA) are being implemented as planned,” Yukiya Amano, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said, referring to the agreement struck on November 24, 2013 in Geneva between Iran and the United States, Germany, France, Russia, China and Britain (P 5+1).
“The measures implemented by Iran and the further commitments it has undertaken represent a positive step forward, but much remains to be done to resolve all outstanding issues,” he added.
According to Amano, Iran has diluted half of its stockpile of 20 percent enriched uranium so that it is now unsuitable for further enrichment to weapons grade.
Amano also made a plea for extra funding for his organization to meet its extra commitments in examining Iran’s nuclear activities.
Amano’s report clears the way for Iran to receive almost half a billion US dollars of the more than four billion dollars frozen abroad.
Media outlets have recently quoted IAEA sources as saying that there are still suspicions over possible military dimensions to Iran’s nuclear program, despite assertions from Iranian leaders that the program is entirely peaceful.
In reaction to these potential suspicions, Mohammad-Reza Khabbaz, a deputy to Iran’s Vice-President for Legal and Parliamentary Affairs and a former MP, told Asharq Al-Awsat that any statement by the IAEA on possible military aspects of Iran’s nuclear program should be backed up with hard evidence.
“Such a statement has no legal and juridical basis and cannot be accepted. IAEA should provide proofs for this claim, and to express those proofs clearly,” he said.
Khabbaz added that Iran had always been committed to the Geneva agreement. “Since Iran has never retreated from any of its commitments, the IAEA must make its claims in line with the IAEA regulations,” he said.
According to Khabbaz, claims that Iran’s nuclear activities are suspicious are themselves “questionable.”
“The IAEA should have a strong basis [for its claims], as we have been able to provide strong evidence about our nuclear activities and without political prejudice,” he said.
Meanwhile, Iran’s Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, said on Sunday that Iran expects the world powers involved in nuclear talks to show goodwill.
“We believe that there is the possibility to reach a comprehensive solution [to the nuclear issue] in a six-month period by the end of July, provided that the opposite side have the political resolve and goodwill, and remain committed to the terms of the Joint Plan of Action,” Zarif said at a joint press conference in Tehran with his Spanish counterpart José Manuel García-Margallo.
As outlined in the JPOA, the initial understanding included the first meaningful limits on Iran’s nuclear program in almost a decade. In return, the P5+1 committed to providing Iran with limited, targeted and reversible sanctions relief for a six-month period.
Zarif stressed that the other side must win the Iranian nation’s trust and respect its rights.
“In that case, it is possible to reach a solution that will retain Iran’s peaceful nuclear program and abolish the sanctions, while removing the international concerns about Iran’s nuclear activities,” the Iranian diplomat said.
Iran and the six countries wrapped up their latest round of nuclear talks in Vienna on February 20, and are set to meet again in the Austrian city on March 17 to continue talks.