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IAEA likely to accept Iran offer to visit nuclear plant
November 29, 2013, 5:32 am

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, second from right, said that Iran would halt production of nuclear fuel at Arak [AP]

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, second from right, said that Iran would halt production of nuclear fuel at Arak [AP]

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) announced Thursday that it will most likely accept an invitation from Iran to visit a nuclear plant in Arak next week.

The inspection of Arak – a heavy water production site, which  has not been seen by experts since 2011 – will be the first step toward meeting the tenets of the interim agreement reached by Iran and world powers in Geneva last week.

The agreement pushes Iran to curb its nuclear programme over an initial period of six months in exchange for an easing of sanctions. It also means Iran will now have access to nearly $8 billion in frozen assets from oil sales made before punitive sanctions went into full effect in the past few years.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who finalised the deal in Geneva, says that Iran will halt production of nuclear fuel at the Arak site, but that construction will continue. He did not specify what construction Iran would pursue there.

The invitation comes less than three weeks after Iran and the IAEA agreed to a Framework for Cooperation with respect to verification activities to be undertaken by the IAEA to resolve all present and past issues.

“It is foreseen that Iran’s cooperation will include providing the IAEA with timely information about its nuclear facilities and in regard to the implementation of transparency measures. Activities will proceed in a step-by-step manner,” the Framework says.

Iranian authorities are likely also trying to fulfill the conditions of the agreement in a bid to move closer to having all UN sanctions lifted after six months.

Alireza Ronaghi, a journalist who reported from Iran for many years, tells The BRICS Post President Hassan Rouhani’s administration won public support because it was able to ease the sanctions.

“However, there is no doubt that if they fail to realise total elimination of all international sanctions within the next six months,” Ronaghi says, “they will have to expect many overdue blows from their hardline critics.”

Source: The BRICS Post with inputs from Agencies

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