NEW YORK — After a long day of diplomacy, foreign ministers from six world powers and Iran met Monday night at the UN headquarters in New York to discuss topics related to the implementation of a comprehensive nuclear deal signed on July 14. During the hour-long meeting, US Secretary of State John Kerry called upon Iran to uphold its obligations under the agreement.
The Monday meeting marked the first time that teams from the P5+1 group of nations — the US, UK, France, Russia, China and Germany — and Iran met since concluding the deal, which provides Tehran with relief from biting sanctions in exchange for curbs on its nuclear program.
According to initial reports, the meeting went well.
“Excellent,” said French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius as he walked out of the meeting with some of his European colleagues. None of the ministers stopped to detail, however, the contents of the discussion.
Shortly after leaving the conference, Kerry tweeted that it was a “good meeting with colleagues on the implementation of the Iran deal.”
According to State Department spokesman John Kirby, during the meeting, “the parties provided updates on the relevant steps being taken towards implementation of the deal, with the Secretary reiterating again that, when Iran has completed its nuclear commitments, the US will be prepared to meet our commitments to lift the relevant sanctions.”
Kerry discussed the recent appointment of Ambassador Steve Mull to lead the US government’s efforts to implement the deal and, Kirby recounted, “called on Iran to undertake all of its nuclear steps in a timely and thorough basis – including its commitments to the [International Atomic Energy Agency] under the Roadmap – in order to proceed to Implementation Day.”
The State Department spokesman said that the parties would conduct ongoing discussions “in order to ensure Iran is able to complete the technical requirements of the agreement.” He emphasized that “all parties agreed to continue working in good faith toward implementation of the deal.”
The agreement is expected to enter the adoption phase on or around October 18. On that date, US President Barack Obama will sign a sanctions waiver that will only go into effect after Iran has carried out its predetermined obligations that were included in the nuclear deal.
Those obligations include satisfying the demands of the IAEA — the UN’s atomic watchdog — regarding suspected activities at the Parchin site, and coming to an agreement with the nuclear oversight organization about reporting on the suspected previous military dimensions of Tehran’s nuclear program.
Among its other obligations, Iran will have to remove thousands of centrifuges from its nuclear facilities as well as the core at the Arak heavy water plutonium reactor.
Monday night’s meeting was hardly the final discussion of the nuclear deal slated to take place on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York. On Tuesday, the same foreign ministers will attend a lunch hosted by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
On the business end, Frederica Mogherini, the high representative of the European Union for foreign affairs and security policy who chaired Monday evening’s meeting, is expected to meet Tuesday with the IAEA Director-General Yukiya Amano to discuss the IAEA inspections protocols.
Monday evening’s meeting, while brief, was laden with symbolism. State Department Spokesperson Marie Harf noted that it was held in the same conference room where, two years earlier, P5+1 members had initiated nuclear talks with Iranian representatives on the sidelines of the 2013 General Assembly.
The Iran nuclear deal has been held up during this General Assembly as a model for potential accomplishments of international cooperation, even among states that share deep mutual distrust.