U.S. adds $1M to fund UN's Iran nuclear inspections

The United States will provide around $1 million U.S. to help pay for the UN atomic agency's work in verifying the implementation of last year's nuclear accord between world powers and Iran, an American official said on Wednesday.
The U.S. is set to give the UN $1 million for its increased inspections of Iran's nuclear program. Here, Iranian operators work at a nuclear power plant in Bushehr, about 1,215 km south of Tehran. (Mehdi Ghasemi/ISNA/Reuters)

The United States will provide around $1 million U.S. to help pay for the UN atomic agency's work in verifying the implementation of last year's nuclear accord between world powers and Iran, an American official said on Wednesday.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in January told member states it needed about $8.3 million CAD in "extra-budgetary voluntary contributions" to finance its increased inspector activity in Iran during the six-month deal.

Under the interim agreement reached in November between Iran and the six powers  the United States, France, Germany, Britain, Russia and China  the country curbed its nuclear program in exchange for some sanctions easing.

The IAEA plays a pivotal role in checking that Iran lives up to its part of the deal that took effect on Jan. 20, requiring it to step up its inspector presence on the ground.

Diplomats say a number of countries have signalled that they will help with funds and that there probably will not be any problem for the IAEA to raise the money it says is required.

One diplomat said he had heard the Vienna-based U.N. agency had so far received pledges of about $6.8 million. The IAEA had no immediate comment on the issue on Wednesday.

The interim accord was designed to buy time for negotiations on a final settlement of the decade-old nuclear dispute. Those talks got under way in Vienna last week.

The IAEA regularly inspects Iranian nuclear facilities to make sure there is no diversion of sensitive fissile material for military purposes, but the November agreement meant it had to expand its activities there.

Iran says its nuclear program is peaceful and denies Western allegations that it may be seeking the capability to assemble atomic bombs.