Tabnak – As the most recent move toward implementing the 2015 nuclear deal and in a sign of entering a process of nuclear trust-building, Iran and the European Commission have signed the first-ever project for nuclear safety cooperation.
The European Union (EU) announced on Tuesday that it has signed the first-ever project for nuclear safety cooperation with Iran, under the framework of the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and the world powers.
The European Commission said in a statement on Tuesday that the €2.5 million ($2.6 million) project aims to enhance the capabilities of the Iranian Nuclear Regulatory Authority (INRA), NewEurope news website reported.
The statement added that the project will do so by preparing feasibility study for the Nuclear Safety Centre foreseen in the nuclear agreement, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
It is the first of a €5 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 scheduled to be signed in the coming weeks.
Both of the projects had been foreseen in a joint statement made in April 2016 in Tehran by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini who visited Iran along with seven European commissioners.
The statement set a roadmap for cooperation between the two sides in 17 areas, including civil nuclear cooperation.
It said: "With a view to contributing to the implementation of measures listed in Annex III of the JCPOA, the two sides are launching a first cooperation project in the field of nuclear safety aimed at assisting the Atomic Energy Organization of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Iranian Nuclear Regulatory Authority through EU development assistance.
"In addition, the EU will share with Iran its experience acquired from stress tests carried out within the EU and in third countries. Additional options for co-operation in the civil nuclear field include joint fission and fusion research activities, as well as a possible regional nuclear safety conference and a nuclear business forum.”
Iran had already started international cooperation on nuclear safety with Japan, which decided to offer Iran around €2.05 million ($2.2 million) for nuclear safety initiatives to help the Middle Eastern state implement the accord.
For Iran, increasing international nuclear safety presents an opportunity for cooperation between its Arab neighbors, some of which are concerned because the Bushehr nuclear power plant is located closer to some of their capitals than to Tehran.
Iran and the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council - the United States, France, Britain, Russia and China plus Germany - signed the JCPOA on July 14, 2015 and started implementing it on January 16, 2016.
Under the JCPOA, Iran undertook to put limitations on its nuclear program in exchange for the removal of nuclear-related sanctions imposed against Tehran.
The lifting of sanctions against Iran has opened the way for a renewal of broader relations between the Islamic Republic and the European Union.