Iran has begun implementing nuclear transparency measures ahead of an August 25 deadline agreed with the UN’s nuclear watchdog, the head of the Vienna-based agency has said, a day after his visit to the Iran’s capital, Tehran.
“The implementation of five [IAEA nuclear] measures have started,” IAEA director-general Yukiya Amano said at Vienna airport on his return from Tehran.
“I expect that progress will be made over the next week.”
measures have started”]
Japanese diplomat’s statement came a day after he made remarks on Iran’s “firm commitment” to cooperate with the IAEA’s long-running inquiry into the country’s disputed nuclear programme.
On Sunday, Amano met Iranian senior officials, including Hassan Rouhani, Iran’s president.
Meanwhile, Iran’s ISNA news agency quoted Majid Takht-Ravanchi, one of Iran’s main negotiators, as saying that his country was committed to securing a nuclear agreement with world powers but would not sign one “at any price”.
Iran and the P5+1, consisting of permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany, signed an interim deal last November and are in discussions to secure a more permanent accord. The target date for a final deal has been put back to November 24.
Iran’s political negotiations with P5-1 is a separate process from the inquiry of IAEA, which Iran is a member of, meaning it assures that it will not possess nuclear weapons.
“We are entering with goodwill into further negotiations with the P5+1 group and we want to reach an agreement… but we are not willing to pay any price,” Takht-Ravanchi reportedly said.
“If the other side also shows goodwill we can reach an agreement by November 24.”
Tehran denies it wants nuclear weapons, insisting it is pursuing atomic energy purely for peaceful purposes.
Positions remain apart
Last year’s key interim deal between Iran and P5-+1 partially froze Iran’s nuclear activities in return for minor sanctions relief but the gap in terms of demands between the two sides remains large.
While some differences have been reconciled there are disagreements over how much uranium Iran would be allowed to enrich and on the lifting of international economic sanctions.
A new round of talks between the two sides is expected before the UN General Assembly starts on September 16.
An accord would see Iran scale back its nuclear activities and in return Tehran would be granted relief from painful UN and Western sanctions.
Such a deal could finally put an end to a standoff that has been threatening to escalate into a war since 2002.