The International Atomic Energy Agency’s board of governors on Tuesday voted unanimously to adopt a resolution to close the agency’s investigation into the possible military dimensions of Iran’s past nuclear program, a highly-anticipated step to clear the way for the July 14 nuclear deal to take full effect.
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif welcomed the IAEA decision and said the issue of PMD has been “consigned to history”, a press release said. The Tuesday vote was the last in a series of steps under a roadmap agreement between Iran and the IAEA after Tehran provided enough data to the Vienna-based agency so it could submit a final report assessing Iran’s past nuclear activities to its board of governors on December 2.
In its Tuesday session, the board decided to adopt a resolution drafted by P5+1(the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany) in their capacity as board’s members, with a view to closing the PMD file. The accord, officially called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, was reached with P5+1 to end sanctions in return for limitations for specified durations on Tehran’s nuclear activities.
However, the agency's role has not ended. It is tasked with monitoring Iran's compliance with the JCPOA. Once it verifies that, the action plan will go into full force on Implementation Day.
Long Way to Go
In his introductory speech to the meeting, IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano said despite "significant" progress so far, there is still a long way to go to fully settle the 12-year dispute over Iran's nuclear program.
"Significant progress has been made on the Iran nuclear issue, but now is not the time to relax. This issue has a long and complex history and the legacy of mistrust between Iran and the international community must be overcome," he said, according to a transcript of his remarks posted on IAEA's website.
"Much work lies ahead of us. All parties must fully implement their commitments under the JCPOA. Considerable effort was required in order to reach this agreement. A similar and sustained effort will be required to implement it."
Iran had delayed action to carry out its commitments pending the closure of the PMD case. Its measures include cutting the stockpile of enriched uranium to 300 kg with fissile purity of 3.67% and redesigning the Arak heavy water reactor.
The head of the Foreign Ministry's office for implementation of the deal told state TV hours ahead of the board's decision that preparations have been made on uranium and Arak commitments.
Under a swap deal recently signed with Russia, Iran will receive raw uranium, known as yellowcake, in exchange for excess stocks of refined uranium.
"We have already received the supply of yellowcake under the deal with Russia. After the resolution is adopted, we will ship the enriched uranium stocks," Abbas Araqchi added.
Araqchi predicted that Iran's measures could be completed in about three weeks to allow the accord to enter the implementation phase.