Head of UN nuclear watchdog visits Iran

AP News
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Posted: Dec 18, 2016 12:44 PM
Head of UN nuclear watchdog visits Iran

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — The head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog is visiting Iran for the second time since a landmark nuclear agreement with world powers went into effect at the start of this year.

Yukiya Amano, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said Sunday it is very important for Iran to fully implement the agreement.

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani said Iran would abide by the deal if other nations do as well, and said IAEA reports should be "technical and impartial."

He also reiterated that Iran will carry out its commitments "until when the other sides remain loyal to their commencements," under the deal.

The IAEA said last month that Iran exceeded its heavy water limit by 100 kilograms (220 pounds) over the 130 metric tons allowed under the agreement. Heavy water is used to cool reactors that produce plutonium, which can be used in atomic bombs.

Iran later said it transferred 11 tons of heavy water to Oman.

Earlier on Sunday Amano met Iran's nuclear chief Ali Akbar Salehi to discuss relations between the agency and Iran.

After the meeting Amano told reporters, "Full implementation by Iran on this commitment is very important for the future of (the deal)... a net gain from the verification point of view."

Salehi said, "We have always insisted that the IAEA must act as a neutral authority and not allow the influence of others to be reflected in its reports."

In response to any possible breach of the deal, he added that "Iran's hands are not tied and it has not burned all its bridges. We are ready to take any necessary action."

The Sunday meetings came after a recent vote by the U.S. Congress to extend some sanctions against Iran, what it believes constitute a breach of the deal.

Responding to the vote Tuesday, Iran decided to draw up plans to build nuclear-powered ships, and on Friday called for a joint commission meeting with world powers on the nuclear deal.