Iran says some sanctions under nuclear deal still in place WP, By George Jahn | AP September 26 VIENNA — Indirectly warning the United States, the head of Iran’s atomic energy agency said Monday that his country’s landmark nuclear deal with could be jeopardized by foot-dragging on sanctions relief, promised in exchange for Tehran’s commitment to curb key atomic activities. But a senior U.S. official said Washington is delivering on its commitments.
Iran complains that international financial sanctions are not being lifted quickly enough under the agreement with the U.S. and five other world powers that stipulates a removal of these and other penalties imposed over Tehran’s nuclear program. Tehran in turn agreed to limit atomic pursuits that could be used to make a bomb.
Nuclear agency chief Ali Akbar Salehi did not blame particular countries in comments to the International Atomic Energy Agency’s general conference. But other Iranian officials have faulted the United States for perceived delays in lifting financial sanctions, and Salehi warned that the deal’s “durability” depended on the other side’s “reciprocal and full implementation.”
“Comprehensive and expeditious removal of all sanctions” outlined in the agreement “have yet to be met,” even though Iran is honoring all its obligations under the pact, he said…….https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/iran-says-some-sanctions-under-nuclear-deal-still-in-place/2016/09/26/10e92782-83d7-11e6-b57d-dd49277af02f_story.html
West failing to deliver nuclear deal promises, says Iran vice-president
Ali Akbar Salehi attacks lack of progress on banking transactions and trade eight months after landmark agreement, Guardian, Saeed Kamali Dehghan, 17 Sept 16, Iran has fully complied with its commitments under last year’s landmark nuclear agreement, but eight months after the official removal of sanctions, the west is failing to deliver on its promises, the country’s vice president has told the Guardian.
Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of the country’s Atomic Energy Organisation, said that if the agreement was to remain intact, both sides had to meet their commitments.
The US-educated scientist, who also served as a former foreign minister of Iran, was the second most senior Iranian negotiator in nearly two years of talks between Tehran and world’s six leading powers that led to the final nuclear accord, known as the joint comprehensive plan of action (JCPOA), in Vienna in July 2015. The deal was implemented in January, and triggered the removal of sanctions.
“As has been stated by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Iran has remained committed to its commitments,” Salehi said. “While the other side – it’s very clear now to public opinion and it’s not a secret – has not really delivered on the promises; that the sanctions would be removed and that banking transactions would go back to normal, that trade would speed up and economic relations would be enhanced. These have not been materialised to the extent that we expected.”……..
Although nuclear-related sanctions were lifted in January, big European banks remain reluctant to do business with Iran. European banks are concerned about existing US sanctions relating to terrorism as well as uncertainty in the US before the election of a new president…….
The banking issue has prevented Iran from capitalising on the interest shown by western businesses in returning to the country, or finalising lucrative deals with the west, such as the purchase of planes from Airbus and Boeing. Iran’s central bank chief told the Guardian in May that Tehran was still locked out of global financial system……..
The fate of the nuclear agreement will affect the next presidential elections in Iran, which are scheduled for spring next year. President Hassan Rouhani is seeking re-election and opponents, including former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, have indicated their willingness to challenge him. Rouhani would have to show Iranians tangible relief from sanctions if he is to maintain their support.
Relations between Tehran and London have significantly improved since the nuclear agreement, with both sides appointing new ambassadors in their respective capitals this month after nearly a five-year hiatus. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/sep/16/west-failing-deliver-nuclear-deal-promises-iran-vice-president-ali-akbar-salehi
Iran Starts Construction On Second Nuclear Plant With Russian Help Radio Free Europe, September 10, 2016 Iran has begun building a second nuclear power plant with Russian help, Iranian and Russian media are reporting.
The project, known as Busherh-2, was officially launched on September 10 in the southern port city of Bushehr. The project will cost around $10 billion and produce 1,057 megawatts of electricity. The project is expected to be completed in 10 years.
It’s Iran’s first nuclear power project since the country reached a landmark nuclear deal with world powers in July 2015. It will be built by Rosatom, the Russian state nuclear power company.
Iran’s sole operational nuclear reactor — also built with Russian assistance in Bushehr — produces 1,000 megawatts. It went online in 2011, and the two countries have agreed to cooperate on future projects.
The Bushehr plant is not considered a proliferation risk because Russia supplies the fuel for the reactor and takes away spent fuel that could otherwise be used to make weapons-grade plutonium….http://www.rferl.org/content/iran-bushehr-2-nuclear-power-plant-russia/27978982.html
Iran Nuclear Deal Likely to Survive Next Administration, Real Clear World, By Barbara Slavin, September 07, 2016 Barbara Slavin is the Acting Director of the Future of Iran Initiative at the South Asia Center of the Atlantic Council and Washington correspondent for Al-Monitor. This article was created in collaboration with the Atlantic Council. The views expressed are solely those of the author.
Like a car that has lost its new car smell and has a few nicks on its bumpers, the nuclear agreement reached last year between Iran and six world powers is showing some wear just nine months after its full implementation.
But the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA, as the Iran nuclear deal is known, has survived efforts to wreck it by opponents in both Iran and the United States, and the deal is likely to endure into the next U.S. administration.
The problems with the agreement relate more to underlying hostility between the United States and Iran, which have not had normal diplomatic relations since 1980.
Seeking to prove that the JCPOA does not mean appeasement of the Great Satan, Iranian hardliners have stepped up provocative actions including arresting dual nationals, testing ballistic missiles, and harassing U.S. Navy ships in the Persian Gulf. Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has repeatedly warned Iranian government officials not to negotiate with the United States on non-nuclear matters, even as senior diplomats continue to meet to review implementation of the nuclear agreement and to discuss a potential settlement to the war in Syria.
On the American side, Republicans and some Democratic hawks have been quick to pounce on any negative Iranian action as proof that the JCPOA has failed. Critics recently seized on a report by the Wall Street Journal claiming that the Obama administration paid $400 million in cash to Iran after four Iranian-Americans and a fifth American citizen were freed from custody on Implementation Day.
In fact, the payment was not “ransom” for the Americans but reimbursement to Iran for weapons that had been purchased before the revolution and never delivered. The Americans were swapped for seven Iranian nationals held in U.S. prisons for sanctions violations……..
Confronting the Islamic State group, dealing with Russia, the ramifications of British exit from the European Union, and the challenges of climate change are likely to take precedence over Iran for both candidates.
Even Israel’s hawkish Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rarely mentions Iran these days; Israeli security experts privately praise the JCPOA for postponing an Iran nuclear crisis for at least another decade.
Of course, the Middle East has a tendency to insert itself into U.S. foreign policy debates in unpredictable ways. But Iran has been relatively stable in the face of the crises afflicting many of its neighbors. A President Clinton or Trump is more likely to have to deal with political turmoil in Turkey, Saudi Arabia, or Iraq.
As for the future of U.S.-Iran relations, much will depend on Tehran and whether the supreme leader’s successor feels the same need to maintain animosity toward the United States as a prop to regime survival. Both countries’ citizens would benefit from restoring diplomatic relations and working toward common ground. But if real peace is not yet possible, at least the JCPOA has drastically reduced the chances for another Middle East war. http://www.realclearworld.com/articles/2016/09/07/iran_nuclear_deal_likely_to_survive_next_administration.html
IAEA: Iran Not Cheating on Nuclear Deal KEVIN DRUM SEP. 8, 2016 Iran has kept to a nuclear deal it agreed with six world powers last year limiting its stockpiles of substances that could be used to make atomic weapons, a report by the U.N. nuclear agency found.
The confidential report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) seen by Reuters did not point to any violations in Tehran’s observance of the deal which was opposed by hardliners inside Iran and by skeptics in the West. http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/09/iaea-iran-not-cheating-nuclear-deal
Media Trumpet Another Phony “Secret Nuclear Deal” Story , 08 September 2016 By Gareth Porter, Truthout | News Analysis Two major media outlets — Reuters and The Washington Post — pushed another Iran “secret side deal” story last week, ignoring obvious facts that revealed it as clever political deception aimed at sabotaging the nuclear agreement with Iran.
Stories in both of those outlets suggested that a leading think tank had revealed a secret deal that allowed Iran to exceed various qualitative and quantitative limits placed on it under the nuclear agreement reached last year — the main current theme of political opponents of the agreement. The stories were based on claims in a report co-authored by David Albright, the head of the Institute for Science and International Security, who has long been treated by corporate media as the leading “independent” expert on Iran’s nuclear program.
In fact, as Truthout revealed in 2014, Albright had abandoned any independence he had maintained on Iran as early as 2008 and had aligned his position on nuclear negotiations with Iran with those of the Bush administration and Israel…….
Albright’s attack on the Obama administration and the Joint Commission was only the latest installment in the current campaign by pro-Israeli media and political opponents of the JCPOA to claim existence of “secret side deals” between the Obama administration and Iran. Just six weeks ago, the Associated Press correspondent in Vienna, George Jahn, published a story that falsely portrayed Iran’s report to the International Atomic Energy Agency [IAEA] on its plan for implementation of the agreement as such a “secret side deal.” The agreement reached between Iran and the IAEA on the issue of alleged past Iranian nuclear work, which included arrangements for taking environmental samples at Iran’s Parchin military facility, was also treated by JCPOA opponents as a “secret side deal.” http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/37527-media-trumpet-another-phony-secret-nuclear-deal-story
Ryabkov Says U.S. Sanctions Continue To Hinder Iran After Nuclear Deal, Radio Free Europe September 01, 2016 The United States has carried out its part of the Iranian nuclear deal, but unilateral U.S. sanctions on Iran have remained in place and are a “big hindrance” for Tehran, a top Russian diplomat told TASS.
Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov, who is visiting Tehran, told TASS on August 31 that the U.S. administration has implemented “from start to finish” everything envisaged by last year’s agreement, “but it hasn’t moved any further.”
“All the so-called unilateral sanctions that existed before an agreement was reached with Iran have stayed in place,” he said.
“These unilateral sanctions are a big hindrance,” he said. “Any deal serviced in dollars goes through corresponding controlling agencies of the United States and can be suspended.”
Despite the removal of most international sanctions against Iran, Ryabkov said European and Asian businesses continue to be cautious about dealing with Iran and as a result, “deals are fewer than one would want to see.”
U.S., partners allowed ‘secret’ exemptions in nuclear agreement for Iran to meet sanctions deadline, http://www.bignewsnetwork.com/news/247272885/us-partners-allowed-secret-exemptions-in-nuclear-agreement-for-iran-to-meet-sanctions-deadline Big News Network, 1 Sep 16, WASHINGTON, U.S. – Reports reveal that the U.S. and its negotiating partners agreed “in secret” to allow Iran to evade some restrictions from last year’s nuclear agreement so it can meet deadlines for relief on economic sanctions.
According to reports, the U.S. and five negotiating partners agreed to allow Iran to keep more low-enriched uranium (LEU) and other nuclear materials than agreed upon, so that the country could be in compliance with the deal by the January deadline.
Another exemption was also made for an undisclosed amount of 20 per cent enriched uranium, described as “lab contaminant.” President of the think tank Institute for Science and International Security, former UN weapons inspector David Albright said that “the exemptions or loopholes are happening in secret, and it appears that they favour Iran.”
The decision was made by an oversight committee which included representatives from the five permanent United Nations Security Council nations, France, Russia, China, U.K., and U.S., along with Germany and Iran, dubbed collectively as the “P5+1.”
Had the exemptions not been allowed, Iran would have failed to comply with the January deadline, forcing the P5+1 powers to keep the sanctions in place.
Further, the report also makes claims that Iran was secretly permitted to maintain 19 radiation containment chambers, or “hot cells”, which violated the terms of the nuclear deal.
Iran was also relieved from having to sell off its excess heavy water, despite a clause in the agreement that the Islamic country should reduce its stores below 130 tons, and allowed it to store excess abroad.
Meanwhile, Iran is expected to build two new nuclear power stations, with aid from Russia, in Iran’s southern city of Bushehr.
Ali Akbar Salehi, head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran said, “Operations to build two new nuclear power plants in Bushehr will start on Sept. 10.”
Ali Akbar Salehi, head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran said, “Operations to build two new nuclear power plants in Bushehr will start on Sept. 10.”
He added, “We will save 22 million barrels of oil per year by building these two power plants,” and continued, “In the cooperation contract with the Russians, the emphasis has been laid on making use of technical capabilities of Iran for implementation of the project.”
The cost of the project is estimated at $10 billion.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said that global businesses were still wary of the effect of the remaining U.S. sanctions on Iran and that the commission monitoring the implementation of the joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) should address the issue.
He said, “We agree with the conclusions which our Iranian friends make, namely that some countries who participated very prominently while the talks were ongoing, now at the phase of implementation, I would use the word, (they are) stuck in their position of not removing obstacles which have been created by themselves through their national legislations, through their national decisions which do not allow for an even more active result-oriented and advanced economic and trade cooperation between Iran and the rest of the world.”
The system is reportedly thought to be capable of firing missiles at targets over 90 miles away. Independent, 31 Aug 16 Gabriel Samuels
Iran has reportedly installed a powerful missile defence system around a former underground nuclear enrichment plant now used as a science facility, in order to “protect” it from external harm.
The Fordow facility, situated roughly 60 miles south of the Iranian capital Tehran, is to be defended by a comprehensive S-300 surface-to-air missile defence system, supplied by the Russian government.
The system is thought to be capable of firing missiles at targets over 90 miles away and track potential threats within a 200 mile radius, carried on the back of large launcher trucks.
Iranian state television broadcast footage showing the deployment of the system with General Farzad Esmaili telling reporters it was the air force’s “main priority” to protect the country’s nuclear facilities…….
Operations at the Fordow uranium plant were thought to have ceased in January following an international agreement to limit Iran’s nuclear programme in exchange for lifting sanctions on Tehran…….
Officials have stated the site is now primarily being used for nuclear research and the production of isotopes for medical purposes, after the facility was converted into a technology and science centre.
General Esmaili said the S-300 missiles were a mobile system which would be relocated often to protect a range of site across the area.
Iran says that it has never sought nuclear arms and that the security around the site is intended to protect it from American or Israeli airstrikes.
Russia began delivering the S-300 system this year under a contract signed in 2007, and Iran says the entire system should be in place by the end of the year. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/iran-installs-air-missile-systems-around-former-nuclear-enrichment-plant-a7216846.html
08/28/2016 DUBAI, Aug 28 (Reuters) – Iran has arrested a member of the negotiating team that reached a landmark nuclear deal with world powers on suspicion of spying, a judiciary spokesman said on Sunday.
The suspect was released on bail after a few days in jail but is still under investigation, Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei said at a weekly news conference, calling the unidentified individual a “spy who had infiltrated the nuclear team,” state media reported.
The deal that President Hassan Rouhani struck last year has given Iran relief from most international sanctions in return for curbing its nuclear program, but it is opposed by hardliners who see it as a capitulation to the United States.
Ejei was responding to a question about an Iranian lawmaker’s assertion last week that a member of the negotiation team who had dual nationality had been arrested on espionage charges.
Tehran’s prosecutor general on Aug. 16 announced the arrest of a dual national he said was linked to British intelligence, but made no mention of the person being in the nuclear negotiations team. On Sunday, Ejei did not explicitly confirm that the arrested person had a second nationality.
Britain said on Aug. 16 that it was trying to find out more about the arrest of a joint-national.
Obama Admin Gives Green Light for Iran to Build Two New Nuclear Plants
New Iranian nuclear plants will not violate nuclear deal, officials say Washington Free Beacon, BY: Adam Kredo August 12, 2016
Iran is permitted to pursue the construction of two newly announced nuclear plants under the parameters of last summer’s nuclear agreement, Obama administration officials informed the Washington Free Beacon, setting the stage for Tehran to move forward with construction following orders from President Hassan Rouhani.
Ali Salehi, Iran’s top nuclear official, announced on Thursday that Iran has invested $10 billion into the construction of two new nuclear plants after receiving orders from Rouhani, according to reports in Iran’s state-controlled media.
A State Department official said to the Free Beacon following the announcement that Iran is allowed to move forward with this venture under the nuclear agreement, which does not prohibit this type of nuclear construction.
“The [nuclear deal] does not prevent Iran from pursuing new light-water reactors,” a State Department official not authorized to speak on record said to the Free Beacon in response to questions about Iran’s latest announcement. “Any new nuclear reactors in Iran will be subject to its safeguards obligations.”………http://freebeacon.com/national-security/obama-admin-gives-green-light-iran-build-two-new-nuclear-plants/
Israel minister admits Iran has respected nuclear deal, Yahoo 7 News, AFP on August 7, 2016 Jerusalem Israel’s energy minister on Sunday criticised a landmark nuclear accord between the Jewish state’s arch-foe Iran and world powers but said Tehran had so far respected the deal.
The agreement, which was signed in July 2015 and came into force in January, saw Tehran accept curbs to its nuclear programme in exchange for a lifting of economic sanctions by world powers.
“It’s a bad deal but it’s an accomplished fact and during the first year we spotted no significant breach from the Iranians,” said Youval Steinitz, who is close to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
“But it’s still too early to conclude that this 12-year deal is a success,” he told public radio.
Steinitz’s comments came after US President Barack Obama on Thursday defended the accord…..https://au.news.yahoo.com/world/a/32262076/israel-minister-admits-iran-has-respected-nuclear-deal/#page1
Iran executes nuclear scientist who returned to country from US Iranian judiciary confirms hanging of Shahram Amiri who it claims was a spy who had given away state secrets, Guardian, Saeed Kamali Dehghan, 7 Aug 16 Iran An Iranian nuclear scientist, whose disappearance in Saudi Arabia in 2009 and subsequent return to Tehran a year later from Washington was shrouded in mystery, has been executed in his home country.
The family of Shahram Amiri, an expert in radioactive isotopes at Tehran’s Malek Ashtar University, which is affiliated to Iran’s ministry of defence, told two overseas Persian-language TV networks at the weekend that he had been executed earlier in the week at an unknown location.
The spokesman for the Iranian judiciary confirmed on Sunday that Amiri had been hanged, claiming he had given away state secrets. The semi-official Tasnimnews agency quoted Gholam-Hossein Mohseni-Eje’i as saying that Amiri had been convicted of spying and put to death after his sentence was upheld by the supreme court.
“This person had obtained top secret information and established contacts with our number one sworn enemy, America, and passed on our country’s most crucial intelligence to the enemy,” Mohseni-Eje’i said.
Amiri’s execution marks the final dark chapter in a real-life spy drama that was the subject of much speculation. It also gives more weight to claims that he defected to the US after going missing on a pilgrimage to Mecca some time in spring 2009.
A few months after Amiri’s disappearance, Iran’s then foreign minister Manouchehr Mottaki accused the US of abducting the scientist. But ABC News reported in March 2010 that he had defected to the US as part of an intelligence coup aimed at undermining Iran’s nuclear programme. That report said he had been extensively debriefed by the US authorities……..https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/aug/07/iran-executes-nuclear-scientist-shahram-amiri-returned-country-from-us
Iranian President Says World Powers Must Fulfill Nuclear Deal Radio Free Europe, August 02, 2016
Iranian President Hassan Rohani has criticized world powers for not fulfilling all of their commitments under a historic nuclear deal signed last year.
Rohani said on state television on August 2 that the failure to lift all sanctions against Iran had harmed the country’s economic growth.
He said that “if the other party had acted properly we would be in a better [economic] situation today.”
Rohani added that Iran still cannot access all of its assets held abroad and that the U.S. Congress, Israel, and some other unnamed regional countries had prevented the nuclear deal from being fully implemented.
He admitted, however, that Iran had been able to export much more oil after sanctions limiting exports were lifted and had regained access to the international banking system…..http://www.rferl.org/content/iran-rohani-world-must-fulfill-nuclear-deal/27896610.html
One Year After Iran Nuclear Deal, Sides Remain Compliant but Wary, Voice of America, Chris Hannas July 14, 2016 WASHINGTON— One year ago, exhausted diplomats from Iran and a group of six world powers emerged from a meeting at a luxury hotel in Vienna, Austria with what they had been seeking for nearly two years: a comprehensive agreement limiting Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for lifting harsh economic sanctions.
Today, the pact is in effect with clear results on its major components, but there are lingering suspicions on both sides that the other may take advantage and not live up to its responsibilities.
“We need to continue to work and we will continue to work and we have a specially designated ambassador whose day-to-day effort is leading a team to make sure that this deal continues to be lived up to, that we continue to be able to resolve any problems,” U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Thursday.
President Barack Obama called the pact a success, saying, “All of Iran’s pathways to a nuclear weapon remain closed.” He said the deal, implemented in January, has pushed the time frame for Iran to develop a nuclear weapon if it violated the agreement from two or three months to “about a year.”
But U.S. opponents of the deal a year ago have not changed their view, that it would not force to Iran to end its military activities in the Mideast or ultimately block it from developing a nuclear weapon………
EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini praised the agreement as a path to “a new chapter in international relations” that uses diplomacy to overcome decades of tensions. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said that while the pact was not perfect, it was an important achievement and represented a foundation for a new diplomatic beginning.
Iran removed thousands of centrifuges that had been used to enrich uranium and shipped out the majority of its existing stockpile. World powers lifted their sanctions, unlocking billions of dollars for Iran and paving the way for new business opportunities there. Last month, U.S. aerospace giant Boeing announced a tentative deal to sell 100 jets to Iran’s state-owned airline.
Throughout the past 12 months, however, officials on both sides, particularly from Iran and the U.S., have spoken about the deal with comments that range from suspicion to outright rejection.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Wednesday that if the world powers fail to meet their responsibilities, then Iran stands ready to restore its nuclear program. Meanwhile, some members of the U.S. Congress want to ban the United States from purchasing nuclear-related material from Iran, accuse the Obama administration of giving up too much too soon in the negotiations, and are wary about how Iran is spending its newly unlocked money.
Iran has complained that despite the lifting of sanctions that once barred financial institutions from doing business with the country, foreign banks remain reluctant to be involved in transactions…….http://www.voanews.com/content/one-year-after-iran-nuclear-deal-sides-remain-compliant-but-wary/3417840.html