UN Nuclear Watchdog Says May Need More Time, Money to Implement Iran Deal

Islamic Republic invites IAEA to visit the Arak heavy water production plant on December 8.

The UN atomic watchdog will probably need more money to verify the implementation of a landmark nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers, its chief Yukiya Amano said on Thursday, adding that it would take some time to prepare for the task.

The IAEA Director General also said Iran has invited the agency to visit the Arak heavy-water production plant on December 8, the first concrete step under a new cooperation pact aimed at clarifying concerns about the Islamic Republic's nuclear program.

The IAEA can mobilize expertise and staff from within the organisation for an increased workload in monitoring whether Iran is complying with the interim accord with the major powers to curb its nuclear program, Amano told a news conference.

But its budget is very tight, he added: "Naturally this requires a significant amount of money and manpower ... I don't think we can cover everything by our own budget."

The Arak facility produces heavy water intended for use in a nearby research reactor that is under construction. The West is concerned that the reactor, which Iran has said could start up next year, could yield plutonium as fuel for atomic bombs once operational. Iran says it will make medical isotopes only.

As part of its agreement with the powers, Iran is to halt installation work at the reactor and stop making fuel for it.

The IAEA will be need to expand monitoring of Iran's uranium enrichment plants and other sites under the November 24 deal reached after marathon talks between Iran and the United States, Russia, China, France, Germany and Britain.

The IAEA was studying how to put into practice Sunday's agreement with respect to its inspectors' role in checking compliance and this would take "some time," Amano said, adding it was a complicated task that needed proper preparations.
"This (analysis) will include the implications for funding and staffing," he separately told the IAEA's 35-nation board.

About 10 percent of its annual 121-million-euro ($164 million) budget for inspections is already devoted to Iran. The agency has two to four staff in Iran virtually every day of the year, with some 20 dedicated to inspector activity there.

Under the Geneva interim accord, there will be "significant extra work and they will require extra resources to do it," a Western envoy said, with "the extremely complex and difficult implementation" expected to start in January.