The U.N. nuclear watchdog said Thursday that Iran agreed to suspend the construction of its most sensitive uranium enrichment facilities as part of the deal with world powers.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said it was concerned that the Iran nuclear accord with world power powers would enable Iran to obtain enriched uranium at its existing enrichment sites and could allow Iran to evade the United Nations sanctions regime.
Iran agreed to halt construction of the Natanz facility and the Fordow facility on Tuesday after a yearlong standoff with the IAEA, in a deal that the ICAE said it believed was aimed at allowing Tehran to maintain the enrichment facilities and keep them operational for as long as needed.
The agency said it had requested additional information from Iran and was awaiting further developments.
In a separate move, the United States on Thursday announced that it was moving to require Iran to halt work at the Nataza facility as well as at Fordow, the site that produced some of the highest levels of uranium used in Iran’s nuclear program.
The move is the first step in a new diplomatic initiative between the U.s. and Iran that could bring some degree of transparency to the nuclear talks.
It comes amid a widening rift in the Obama administration over the Iran talks, which have reached a critical stage and have resulted in no agreement.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the country was ready to make concessions, but said the U,S.
had the right to impose sanctions on Iran.
Iran also agreed to close its Natanz uranium enrichment facility and halt work on the Fordows, he said.
A senior administration official told reporters Thursday that the U.,U.S., and IAEAs will continue to seek answers to key questions about the deal, including how long Iran would be able to evade U.n. sanctions.
The IAEAS said it would issue a report on Iran’s compliance with the deal by mid-November.
The U.K. government has been demanding a full accounting of the agreement and will make its case before Parliament later this year, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said on Thursday.
Johnson said the government will make the case in front of the U (United Nations) General Assembly in late February, before the end of the month.
agreement will then go to the U’s parliament, which in turn will make a decision on whether it is legally binding.
The Obama administration has made no secret of its concerns about Iran’s future nuclear program, but it has refused to go as far as some of its allies and some members of Congress.
The White House has been pushing Congress to approve sanctions relief in the wake of Iran’s November nuclear deal, saying it would help keep Iran from building a nuclear weapon.