Last updated: 15 January, 2014

IAEA board to discuss Iran nuclear freeze January 24

The head of the UN atomic watchdog said Wednesday he has called an extraordinary meeting of the agency’s board on January 24 to discuss how to verify Iran’s upcoming nuclear freeze.

“I have requested that a meeting of the board of governors be convened on 24 January,” International Atomic Energy Agency chief Yukiya Amano said in a statement.

He said he would “consult” with the 35-nation board regarding a request by Iran and six world powers to the IAEA to “undertake monitoring and verification of nuclear-related measures in relation to the Joint Plan of Action” signed on November 24.

Under the landmark deal due to take effect on January 20, Iran has agreed to freeze parts of its nuclear programme for six months in exchange for moderate sanctions relief and a promise of no new sanctions.

During this six-month period, Iran and the six powers — the US, China, Russia, Britain, France and Germany — are to hammer out a “comprehensive” deal resolving for good the standoff over Iran’s nuclear programme.

The Vienna-based IAEA, which will have a key role verifying that Iran does what it promised, gave no details on Wednesday of its plans, but Amano said previously the agency would need additional resources.

The extra work “requires a significant amount of money and manpower…. The IAEA’s budget is very, very tight. I don’t think we can cover everything from our own budget,” Amano had told reporters in late November.

Iran says its nuclear programme is peaceful but many in the international community suspect otherwise, with the UN Security Council demanding a suspension of certain activities in a string of resolutions.