VIENNA – Diplomats said Tuesday that the U.N. nuclear agency will convene a Jan. 24 meeting of the agency's leading nations on a landmark pact reached between Tehran and six world powers — an agreement described by Iran's president as representing the "surrender" of Western powers to his country's demands.
The date was shared with The Associated Press by two diplomats from member countries of the U.N's International Atomic Energy Agency. They demanded anonymity because they were not authorized to reveal it before a formal IAEA announcement.
The Nov. 24 deal commits Tehran to curb its nuclear programs in exchange for initial sanctions relief over six months as the two sides work toward a permanent agreement.
The accord designates the IAEA to oversee Iranian compliance with terms of the deal. The 35-nation IAEA board is expected to approve that role at the Jan. 24 meeting.
Iranian officials have been keen on portraying the pact as advantageous to their country in easing sanctions in return for what they say are minimal nuclear concessions. President Hassan Rouhani's remarks Tuesday appeared to be part of efforts to bring around hard-liners who have denounced the deal, claiming it tramples on Iran's enrichment rights.
"Do you know what the Geneva agreement means? It means the surrender of the big powers before the great Iranian nation," Rouhani told a crowd in the oil-rich province of Khuzestan.
"The Geneva agreement means the wall of sanctions has broken. The unfair sanctions were imposed on the revered and peace-loving Iranian nation," he said. "It means an admission by the world of Iran's peaceful nuclear program."
The U.N. agency did not immediately confirm the board meeting but said separate talks in Tehran between Iran and IAEA experts were postponed from Jan. 21 to Feb. 8.
The IAEA is hoping Iran will agree to cooperate in investigating IAEA suspicions that it worked on nuclear weapons, if not during those talks then subsequent ones. Tehran denies working on — or wanting — such arms.
One of the diplomats said the Iran-IAEA talks were postponed to allow Iran to prepare for the implementation of the Nov 24 deal. Enactment of that agreement is scheduled to begin Jan. 20.