The European Commission announced yesterday it has signed the first-ever project for nuclear safety cooperation with Iran, under the framework of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) agreed between Iran and the E3/EU+3 countries in July 2015. The project is the first of a €5.0 million ($5.4 million) action approved by the European Union in 2016 under the Instrument for Nuclear Safety Cooperation. A second project for the stress test at the Bushehr nuclear power plant is to be signed in the coming weeks.
The Commission said the €2.5 million project aims to enhance the capabilities of the Iranian Nuclear Regulatory Authority (INRA) by preparing a feasibility study for the Nuclear Safety Centre foreseen in the JCPOA. It will support INRA in developing a nuclear regulatory framework, working toward the accession by Iran to several international nuclear conventions, including the Convention on Nuclear Safety, and reviewing the results of the stress test to take place in the Bushehr nuclear power plant.
According to the European Union's 'external action' website, relations between the EU and Iran "have been through different stages and most recently, over the last decade, conditioned by the international dispute over Iran's nuclear program, and the consequent sanctions regime that was in place against Iran".
Having reached on 16 January 2016 Implementation Day of JCPOA, "the way is now opened for a renewal of broader relations", it says.
The JCPOA is aimed at ensuring the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear program while providing for the comprehensive lifting of all UN Security Council (UNSC) sanctions as well as EU and US sanctions related to Iran's nuclear program.
The next stages of the JCPOA are Transition Day, which will take place eight years after Adoption Day - in 2023 - or when the IAEA has reached the Broader Conclusions that all nuclear material in Iran remains in peaceful activities, whichever is earlier, will trigger the lifting of the remaining nuclear-related sanctions, ballistic missile restrictions, and related designations. On Termination Day, which will occur 10 years after Adoption Day, in 2025, remaining EU measures will be terminated, the UNSC will conclude consideration of the Iran nuclear issue and UNSC resolution 2231 (2015) will be terminated.
The EU and Iran held a high-level seminar on International Nuclear Cooperation: Expectations and Responsibilities in Brussels between 28 February and 1 March. The seminar was the result of a joint initiative of the European Commissioner for Energy and Climate Action Miguel Arias Cañete and Iranian vice‑president Ali Akbar Salehi.
According to a European Commission statement, a "common understanding" emerged at the seminar that Annex III on nuclear co-operation provides a "sound framework" for working together in the nuclear area, and that its implementation will play a "crucial role" in the successful implementation of the JCPOA.
"The existing and growing cooperation between Iran and the EU in a number of areas demonstrates the effectiveness of this framework for further co-operation," it added.
A follow-up seminar is to be organised in Esfahan before the end of this year.
Researched and written
by World Nuclear News