Nuclear watchdog official: Verification report on Iran could be ready in months
VIENNA — The head of the international nuclear watchdog group — a day after returning from Tehran — said Saturday that a report documenting Iran’s past nuclear activities could be completed by the end of the year.
The report is a key part of the agreement being negotiated here between Iran and the United States and other world powers. Although some critics of the potential accord have said Iran must specify its “possible military dimensions” as part of a final deal, the Obama administration has indicated it would be satisfied with whatever arrangement is reached between Tehran and the International Atomic Energy Agency.
“Once an agreement on the joint comprehensive plan of action” is reached, IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano said, “the IAEA is ready to implement the nuclear-related elements when requested.”
The statement by Amano, who met Thursday with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, came amid reports that expert teams of negotiators have agreed on key parts of the accord, including sanctions relief for Iran.
Verification issues have been complicated by public statements in which Iran has repeatedly said inspectors will not be allowed to visit Iranian military facilities or to interview nuclear scientists.
Amano said that “progress ... on the way forward” was made in his meeting with Rouhani. Inspection of military facilities is considered key to determining not only whether Iran is trying to cheat on a deal, but also the extent of its previous work on a nuclear weapon. Iran denies that its nuclear program has been for any purpose other than energy production.
Shortly after Amano’s comments, a senior Iranian official in Tehran repeated that military visits and scientist interviews would not be permitted.
“Our red lines include permission for visiting the military centers and interview[s] with nuclear scientists as well as the points explicitly stated by Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution,” Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khameinei, Alaeddin Boroujerdi, chairman of the parliamentary national security commission, told Iran’s Fars News agency Saturday.