The world powers and Iran last summer struck a landmark nuclear deal, in which Tehran agreed to curb its nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of international sanctions.
Now, Iran is poised to finally feel the effects of the accord, including an end to the EU embargo of Iranian oil imports and reestablished ties between Iranian banks and the European financial system.
According to Abbas Araqchi, Iran’s deputy foreign minister and senior nuclear negotiator, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on Friday will verify that Tehran has fulfilled all its obligations under the agreement, including unplugging thousands of centrifuges and significantly reducing its stockpile of low-enriched uranium, the Guardian reported.
That report by the IAEA will trigger the announcement of an “implementation day,” when the lifting of US and EU sanctions will come into effect and all previous nuclear-related UN resolutions will be terminated. Tehran expects this to happen Saturday or Sunday.
“The IAEA inspectors are supposed to issue their final report on Iran’s honoring of its commitments on Friday,” Araghchi was quoted by local news agencies as saying.
US Secretary of State John Kerry, speaking in Washington, said the nuclear deal is likely to be implemented in the coming days.
“As agreed, Iran is now well on its way to dismantling critical elements of its nuclear facilities,” Kerry said. “Just yesterday, the foreign minister reported to me that the calandria of the plutonium nuclear reactor is now out and in the next hours it will be filled with concrete and destroyed.”
“We will ensure that the spectre of a nuclear armed Iran is removed as a threat to Middle East security and global peace, and it is not insignificant that Iran has agreed to submit to this, agreed to undertake these steps, agreed that it will not build this weapon,” he added.
Non-nuclear related US sanctions on Iran, such as those relating to terrorism, will remain in place.