The head of Iran's atomic energy agency has warned his country's landmark nuclear deal with five world powers could be jeopardised by foot-dragging on a pledge of sanctions relief in exchange for Tehran's commitment to curb atomic activities. Ali Akbar Salehi said on Monday that "comprehensive and expeditious removal of all sanctions" outlined in the agreement "have yet to be met," even though his country is honouring all its obligations under the historic pact. But other Iranian officials have faulted the United States for delays in lifting financial sanctions. Salehi said the deal's "durability" depended on the other side's "reciprocal and full implementation". Iran complains that international financial sanctions are not being lifted quickly enough under the agreement that stipulates a removal of these and other penalties imposed over Tehran's nuclear programme, in exchange for its agreement to curb atomic pursuits that could be used to make a bomb.
WASHINGTON – A group that the White House recently identified as a key surrogate in promoting the Iran nuclear deal gave National Public Radio 100,000 last year to help it report on the pact and related issues, according to the group's annual report. It also funded reporters and partnerships with other news outlets. The Ploughshares Fund's mission is to "build a safe, secure world by developing and investing in initiatives to reduce and ultimately eliminate the world's nuclear stockpiles," one that dovetails with President Barack Obama's arms control efforts. But its behind-the-scenes role advocating for the Iran agreement got more attention this month following a candid profile of Ben Rhodes, one of the president's top foreign policy aides, in The New York Times Magazine. In the article, Rhodes explained how the administration worked with nongovernmental organizations, proliferation experts and reporters to build support for the seven-nation accord, which curtailed Iran's nuclear activity and softened international financial penalties on Tehran.
VIENNA – Key restrictions on Iran's nuclear program imposed under an internationally negotiated deal will start to ease years before the 15-year accord expires, advancing Tehran's ability to build a bomb even before the end of the pact, according to a document obtained Monday by The Associated Press. The confidential document is the only text linked to last year's deal between Iran and six foreign powers that has not been made public, although U.S. officials say members of Congress who expressed interest were briefed on its substance. It was given to AP by a diplomat whose work has focused on Iran's nuclear program for more than a decade, and its authenticity was confirmed by another diplomat who possesses the same document. Both demanded anonymity because they were not authorized to share or discuss the document. The diplomat who shared the text described it as an add-on agreement to the nuclear deal in the form of a document submitted by Iran to the International Atomic Energy Agency outlining its plans to expand its uranium enrichment program after the first 10 years of the nuclear deal.
Iran will invite foreign companies to bid for oil and gas projects for the first time since last year's landmark nuclear deal with world powers, the country's Ministry of Petroleum said Sunday. The ministry did not say how many projects would be involved but said they include exploration and production in oil and gas fields, with the bidding process opening on Monday. It will be the first time Iran offers an international tender for oil and gas projects since the nuclear deal went into effect in January. The ministry's website said foreign companies should submit their applications by Nov. 19 and that successful companies would be announced on Dec. 7. Iran had previously said that priority for exploration and production for foreign companies would be given to neighboring countries with which it shares border fields.
TEHRAN – Tehran has deployed a recently delivered Russian-made long-range missile system to central Iran to protect its Fordo nuclear facility, state television said Sunday. Protecting nuclear facilities is paramount "in all circumstances" Gen. Farzad Esmaili, the commander of Iran's air defenses, told the IRIB channel. "Today, Iran's sky is one of the most secure in the region," he added. A video showed an S-300 carrier truck in Fordo, raising its missile launchers toward the sky, next to other counterstrike weaponry. The images were aired hours after supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei gave a speech to air force commanders, including Esmaili, in which he stressed that Iranian military power was for defensive purposes only.