UN nuclear agency to meet on Iran pact Jan. 24

AP News
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Posted: Jan 14, 2014 2:43 PM
UN nuclear agency to meet on Iran pact Jan. 24

VIENNA (AP) — Diplomats said Tuesday that the U.N. nuclear agency will convene a Jan. 24 meeting of the agency's leading nations on a landmark pact reached between Tehran and six world powers — an agreement described by Iran's president as representing the "surrender" of Western powers to his country's demands.

The date was shared with The Associated Press by two diplomats from member countries of the U.N's International Atomic Energy Agency. They demanded anonymity because they were not authorized to reveal it before a formal IAEA announcement.

The Nov. 24 deal commits Tehran to curb its nuclear programs in exchange for initial sanctions relief over six months as the two sides work toward a permanent agreement.

The accord designates the IAEA to oversee Iranian compliance with terms of the deal. The 35-nation IAEA board is expected to approve that role at the Jan. 24 meeting.

Iranian officials have been keen on portraying the pact as advantageous to their country in easing sanctions in return for what they say are minimal nuclear concessions. President Hassan Rouhani's remarks Tuesday appeared to be part of efforts to bring around hard-liners who have denounced the deal, claiming it tramples on Iran's nuclear rights.

"Do you know what the Geneva agreement means? It means the surrender of the big powers before the great Iranian nation," Rouhani told a crowd in the oil-rich province of Khuzestan.

"The Geneva agreement means the wall of sanctions has broken. The unfair sanctions were imposed on the revered and peace-loving Iranian nation," he said. "It means an admission by the world of Iran's peaceful nuclear program."

Rouhani's comments drew a dismissive U.S. response.

"It doesn't matter what they say," White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters in Washington. "What matters to us ... is what Iranian leaders do, what Iran does in keeping its commitments in this agreement."

The U.N. agency did not confirm the board meeting but said separate talks in Tehran between Iran and IAEA experts were postponed from Jan. 21 to Feb. 8.

The IAEA is hoping Iran will agree to cooperate in investigating IAEA suspicions that it worked on nuclear weapons, if not during those talks then subsequent ones. Tehran denies working on — or wanting — such arms.

One of the diplomats said the Iran-IAEA talks were postponed to allow Iran and the agency to prepare for the implementation of the Nov. 24 deal — a view the United States appeared to share.

"There's a lot going on around the same time," said Deputy State Department Spokeswoman Marie Harf. "So it's not a concern."

Enactment of the Nov. 24 agreement is scheduled to begin Jan. 20.

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AP writers Nasser Karimi in Tehran and Nedra Picker and Deb Riechmann in Washington contributed to this report.