Vienna, Austria (4E) – The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on Monday confirmed that Iran started rolling back its nuclear program in compliance with its November deal with six world powers.
The European Union and the U.S. responded by announcing they will start easing economic sanctions on Iran, which was their obligation under the Joint Plan of Action (JPA) forged with Iran in Geneva last year to settle the decade-old standoff over Tehran’s nuclear energy program.
IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano said Iran started implementing the JPA. IAEA inspectors witnessed Iranian officials disconnecting cascades of centrifuges used to produce 20 percent enriched uranium at the Natanz and Fordow nuclear plants on Monday.
About 432 pounds stockpile of 20-percent-enriched uranium was also started to be diluted and oxidized. Mohammad Amiri, an official of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), said half of the stockpile will be diluted over a period of six month at 33 pounds per month. The remainder will be diluted within three months at “one cylinder per three weeks, Amiri said.
IAEA inspectors also saw no heavy water stockpile in the reservoir of Iran’s Arak reactor in the last two days, said AEOI head Ali Akbar Salehi on Monday.
In Washington, White House spokesman Jay Carney announced that the U.S. and its P5+1 partners–the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia, China, and the EU—will reciprocate Iran’s actions by following through their commitment to begin to provide the modest relief agreed to with Iran. But Carney said remaining sanctions will continue to be enforced aggressively in the next six months.
In Brussels, Catherine Ashton, the EU mediator in nuclear talks with Iran, said Monday that foreign ministers of the EU adopted the necessary legislation suspending sanctions on Iran effective immediately. Under the JPA, the EU will suspend sanctions against the import of petrochemical, and gold and precious metals from Iran as well as release to Tehran $4.2 billion worth of frozen oil sales revenue.
Ashton also said the EU will start negotiations about a comprehensive solution with Iran in February.