TEHRAN (FNA)- US State Department ُpokeswoman Marie Harf confirmed that the Monday report of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on the halt of Iran’s higher enrichment activities has been received by the officials of the Group 5+1 (the five permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany).
“(We) are now studying this report (and) will have further public comment after all parties have had the opportunity to review the report,” Harf said in a statement, Fox News reported.
Today, a confidential report by the IAEA showed that Iran has halted its 20-percent enrichment activity under a ground-breaking deal struck with the six world powers in Geneva late in November, paving the way for the easing of some western sanctions against Tehran.
The report by the IAEA also said Iran had begun diluting its stockpile of uranium enriched to concentration of 20 percent.
The IAEA added that Iran was also continuing to convert some of this reserve into oxide for producing reactor fuel.
The IAEA will play a pivotal role in checking Iran lives up to its part of the interim agreement by curbing uranium enrichment in exchange for some relaxation of sanctions against Tehran.
The IAEA report to member states said, “The Agency confirms that, as of 20 January 2014, Iran … has ceased enriching uranium above 5 percent U-235 at the two cascades at the Pilot Fuel Enrichment Plant (PFEP) and four cascades at the Frodo Fuel Enrichment Plant (FFEP) previously used for this purpose.”
It was referring to Iran’s two enrichment plants, at Natanz and Frodo.
Cascades are interlinked networks of centrifuge machines that refine uranium. The IAEA report also said Iran was, as of January 20, not “conducting any further advances” to its activities at the Arak heavy water research reactor.
Earlier in the day, Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi announced that three separate IAEA teams of inspectors were scheduled to visit Iran’s nuclear sites in Arak, Fordo and Natanz to inspect the start of the voluntary suspension of Iran’s 20-percent enrichment activities today.
Kamalvandi announced that suspension of Iran’s 20-percent enrichment operation was due to start earlier today, but it was delayed due to the technical debates between the IAEA inspectors and Iran’s nuclear experts.
Kamalvandi also said that based on the undertakings mentioned in the Geneva deal, the six powers should now begin to ease their sanctions on Tehran.
On November 24, Iran and the world powers sealed a six-month Joint Plan of Action to lay the groundwork for the full resolution of the West’s decade-old dispute with Iran over its nuclear energy program. In exchange for Tehran’s confidence-building bid to limit certain aspects of its nuclear activities, the Sextet of world powers agreed to lift some of the existing sanctions against Tehran and continue talks with the country to settle all problems between the two sides.
Then after several rounds of experts talks on how to enforce the agreement, Iran and the six major world powers finalized an agreement on ways to implement the deal.
Last week, a source form the EU said that the Union would begin lifting sanctions against Iran on Monday, January 20, the minute it receives the word that Tehran has begun implementing the nuclear deal.
The EU foreign ministers will announce the move in Brussels as soon as inspectors from the UN’s nuclear watchdog, the IAEA, confirm that the agreement started to be carried out.
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