PHOTO: Uranium centrifuges at Iran’s Natanz enrichment plant

Iranian officials have said that “Implementation Day” for the July 2014 nuclear deal will be next week.

The Rouhani Government is hoping for International Atomic Energy Agency verification of the agreement with the 5+1 Powers (US, Britain, France, Germany, China, and Russia), as this would begin the removal of US and European sanctions that have crippled the Iranian economy.

The spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization, Behrouz Kamalvandi, said on Monday that he expects completion of “initial commitments” within seven days. An “informed source” told Fars News Agency that Iran had met another central condition of the deal, the removal of the core of the Arak heavy-water reactor.

The reactor was filled with cement, removing the possibility of plutonium by-product that can be used in a militarized nuclear program.

Last month, Iran shipped almost all of its enriched uranium outside the country. It is also reducing the number of uranium centrifuges from about 19,000 to 6,100 — 5,100 in operation and 1,000 for research.

The Rouhani Government initially hoped for IAEA verification by December 15 but then set the date of “early January”. However, doubts were raised at the end of last month when the US threatened new sanctions over Iran’s ballistic missile testing — which is not covered by the nuclear deal — and President Rouhani responded by ordering the Defense Ministry to expedite the tests.

That dispute was overtaken within days by the crisis in Iran’s relations with Saudi Arabia, beginning with the Saudi execution of a prominent Shia cleric, followed by an attack on the Saudi Embassy in Tehran and Riyadh’s suspension of diplomatic ties.

Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani maintained a firm line in Sunday and Monday sessions of the Majlis, saying
Iran will think about enacting “necessary” and “reciprocal” measures if the US violates the nuclear deal, including the imposition of new sanctions.

Head of judiciary Sadegh Larijani reinforced the warning, “This is not wise or acceptable. The continuation of these developments would bring the Islamic Republic of Iran to the point of reconsidering the [nuclear deal].”

(Hat tip to Iran Tracker for translations)