IAEA announcement expected on Iranian compliance with nuclear agreement

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VIENNA, Austria  –  Iran’s foreign minister arrived in Vienna, saying he was confident the U.N.’s nuclear watchdog would certify that his country was complying with the terms of a deal to restrict its nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of some international economic sanctions.

The International Atomic Energy Agency is expected to release its report Saturday assessing Iran’s compliance with an agreement with foreign powers, including the United States and the European Union.

And many expect the IAEA’s will corroborate Iranian compliance.

Doing so would herald “Implementation Day,” the formal name for the start of the next phase in the agreement called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, which was hammered out with Iran in July. The new “Day” will mean the first wave of economic relief for Iran.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif had already exuded confidence in a post to Twitter shortly after arriving in Vienna that the milestone has been met. “#ImplementationDay, it’s now time for all — especially Muslim nations — to join hands and rid the world of violent extremism. Iran is ready.”

Zarif expressed confidence to Iranian journalists as well.

Iranian FM:

“Immediately after the release of the report by the IAEA verifying Iran’s implementation, we will have the Implementation Day. So we expect to have it today,” he told Iranian reporters.

“I believe it’s not just an important day for economic activities in Iran. It is going to open the possibilities in Iran for economic engagement,” Zarif said. “What is more important is that it’s an extremely important day for diplomacy. Today is the day where we prove to the world that threats, sanctions, intimidation and pressure don’t work. Respect works. Through respect, through dialogue, we can reach mutually accepted agreements.”

Under the JCPOA, in exchange for lifting sanctions Iran is obliged to take steps to put it further away from developing a nuclear weapon while keeping a peaceful nuclear energy program.

It must reduce its level of uranium enrichment, dramatically reduce the size of its stockpile of enriched uranium, reduce the number of centrifuges, and agree to unfettered international inspections.

Iran without sanctions: European firms ready to pounce

But not all nuclear-related sanctions will be rescinded immediately — that won’t happen for about 10 years, should the deal hold. But this month’s milestone will mean Iran will be able to sell its oil again on world markets and its banks will be able to connect to the global system.