(photo credit: REUTERS)
WASHINGTON -- Iran has kept to its commitments under the Joint Plan of Action, an interim deal meant to freeze much of its nuclear work, the State Department said on Monday, responding to alleged concern within the Obama administration about Iranian violations.
Reacting to a report in Foreign Policy magazine, detailing US complaints to the United Nations of Iranian efforts to procure materials for a heavy-water plutonium plant, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki declined to characterize certain procurement efforts by Iran as violations of the deal.
The US has expressed its concern over those efforts publicly, Psaki said, declining to comment on "private discussions" between US and UN officials.
"Its not breaking news that we're concerned with Iran's procurement activities," Psaki told reporters. "I'm not going to speak to specifics in the report about internal discussions." According to the FP article, Iranian procurement agents "have been increasing their efforts to illicitly obtain equipment for the IR-40 research reactor at the Arak nuclear complex." The piece alleges the US complained to an eight-member UN panel on November 7 in a confidential report, preceding a Nov. 24 deadline extended by negotiating parties in Vienna.
Upon that deadline, US Secretary of State John Kerry said that Iran had thus far "held up its end of the bargain." Psaki recommitted the US to that statement, stating on Monday that, despite uncorroborated claims in the report, "Iran has kept all of their commitments under the JPOA." Nevertheless, the report prompted chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Ed Royce (R-CA) to issue a statement calling for new sanctions legislation. His colleagues in the Senate have suggested a similar tactic in recent days.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has boasted of circumventing sanctions imposed by the United States, European Union, and UN Security Council, calling the measures "illegal." And the UN's watchdog monitoring the deal, the International Atomic Energy Agency, suggested last month efforts by Iran to fuel components of its program meant to be halted under the interim deal.
Negotiations are set to resume this month in Vienna between Iran and the P5+1— the US, United Kingdom, France, Russia, China and Germany. The parties seek a comprehensive political agreement within four months and a final deal by July 2015.
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