U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Yukiya Amano will join negotiators in Iran to help finalize provisions in a nuclear agreement related to possible military dimensions (PMD) of Iran’s past nuclear work and inspections, two major hurdles to reaching a final agreement. A senior P5+1 diplomat said that Amano would be attending negotiations “especially for PMD,” adding that “we can imagine that this is a positive sign” because “the Iranians invited him.” Yukiya will also assess an Iranian counterproposal regarding U.N. inspectors’ ability to question Iran’s nuclear scientists.
In another sign of progress, Iran Deputy Foreign Minister Majid Ravanchi’s suggested that inspections of Iranian military sights was no longer a sticking point in negotiations. Ravanchi said that Iran will likely pass into law the Additional Protocol, a mechanism that allows for inspections of military sites on a “managed basis.” President Barack Obama had reiterated yesterday the P5+1’s stance that the U.S. would not agree to a deal that left out “serious, rigorous” inspections. Ravanchi dismissed apprehension about the country’s willingness to allow inspections, instead focusing on remaining issues about how sanctions will be lifted as Iran complies with nuclear measures.
Iran Receives Preliminary Relief as International Community Prepare for Sanctions Removal
Under the Lausanne framework, Iran will only receive full sanctions relief upon meeting certain nuclear disarmament benchmarks outlined in a final nuclear agreement. But it received some relief this week when South Africa released 13 tons of Iranian gold reserves worth $11.9 billion to Iran’s Central Bank. These assets had been purchased by Iran from South Africa two years ago but then blocked due to sanctions. The payment was promised to Iran by the P5+1 last year as part of an agreement to extend nuclear negotiations.
Meanwhile France, one of the toughest P5+1 negotiators, has asked its companies to prepare for a return to Iran, though its diplomats say they will continue to take a hard line in negotiations and prioritize the country’s relationships with Saudi Arabia and Egypt. Approximately 100 French companies have already made plans to send a business delegation to Tehran in September, and one company, AREP, even signed an agreement Wednesday to redevelop three Iranian railway stations. Iranian officials also expect $100 billion in new oil and gas deals with Western companies if sanctions are lifted. India has asked refiners to raise $6.5 billion in anticipation of Iran oil imports.
U.N. Study Confirms Iran’s Cooperation on Terms of Preliminary Nuclear Deal
A U.N. report issued Wednesday confirmed yesterday’s news that Iran has met several conditions agreed to in the 2013 Joint Plan of Action. The International Atomic Energy Agency report says that Iran has begun converting more than four tons of enriched uranium into oxide and other elements not conducive to making a nuclear weapon. The report, which was distributed to negotiators in Vienna, corroborates yesterday’s news that Iran had lowered its low-enriched uranium stockpile to below the 7.6-ton threshold outlined in the 2013 Join Plan of Action.
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