PHOTO: Uranium centrifuges at Iran’s Natanz enrichment plant
Iran began implementation of the July 14 nuclear deal on Monday, a day after it was officially adopted by Tehran and the 5+1 Powers.
As officials from both sides met in Vienna, Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi said Iran will start taking centrifuges for uranium enrichment off-line “in a few days”. Under the agreement, the Islamic Republic is to reduce its current level of 19,000 centrifuges to just over 5,000, and to dilute or move out of the country about 98% of its stockpile of uranium.
Araqchi said that Iran is likely to pursue the sale of the excess 20% uranium rather than diluting it to 5%. He declared:
[We] had good discussions with one of the countries for the exchange of enriched uranium for natural uranium, and we are striving to execute our commitments in the shortest amount of time possible. We expect this process to conclude within several weeks.
The Deputy Foreign Minister said Iran is “likely” to meet its goal of implementation of the agreement by the end of 2015. The Rouhani Government is eager for International Atomic Energy Agency verification so the US and European Union will begin the process of lifting or suspending sanctions.
President Obama said on Sunday’s “Adoption Day” that Washington is ready to extend the conditional waiver of sanctions as soon as the IAEA verification is confirmed.
MPs: Washington Post’s Rezaian is Important Spy and Had “Religiously Illegal” Affair
Leading MPs have put up further barriers to the release of the Washington Post correspondent Jason Rezaian, who has been detained since July 2014.
Judiciary spokesman Gholam Hossein Mohseni-Ejei said last week that Rezaian had been convicted, although he gave no details of the prison sentence imposed on the journalist, a dual Iranian-American national who has worked in Tehran since 2008.
Nowzar Shafiee, the spokesman for Parliament’s National Security Commission, said:
[Rezaian is] an important element for the Americans, to the degree that the Americans are engaged in an energetic attempt to release him.
Jason Rezaeian is an agent implementing the idea of those American senators who believe, “If America manages to restore its pre-revolution relations with Iran, one can easily topple the government of Iran.”
MP Javad Karimi Ghodousi said that “the Judiciary should be vigilant that there is no…prisoner exchange” of Rezaian for Iranians imprisoned in the US, mainly for violations of sanctions.
Ghodousi accused Rezaian of having an “amoral and religiously illegal relationship with one of the children of the general secretary” of the National Front Movement.
Rouhani Government Jabs Again at Guardian Council Over Supervision of Elections
The Rouhani Government has jabbed again at the Guardian Council’s power to disqualify candidates from elections.
Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Alavi said, at a meeting with the heads of universities and higher education institutions, that it is the “the right of the people” to participate in the elections “as a symbol of democracy”. Thus, candidates meeting qualification requirements “should not be deprived” of the opportunity to participate.
With Parliamentary and Assembly of Experts elections set for February, President Rouhani tried in September to challenge the Guardian Council’s vetting, which has disqualified prospective candidates such as former President Hashemi Rafsanjani from standing for the Presidency, the Majlis, and other bodies. His effort was finally blunted by the Supreme Leader, who said,
An Expediency Council official said that Rafsanjani, who heads the Council, will run in February to regain the chair of the Assembly of Experts.
Rafsanjani led the Assembly, which names the Supreme Leader and can nominally remove him, from 2007 to 2011.