Iran and U.N. sign agreement on nuclear cooperation

Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency signed a joint statement on Monday agreeing to strengthen their cooperation and dialogue to ensure that Iran's nuclear program remains peaceful.

While officials with Iran's nuclear program stated it was for peaceful purposes, other countries argue it is driven by military ambitions. In 2003, it was discovered the country concealed its nuclear activities for 18 years in violation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

As part of the Joint Statement on a Framework for Cooperation, Iran must provide the IAEA with timely information about its nuclear facilities and its implementation of transparency measures. The IAEA agreed to take Iran's security concerns into account by using managed access to protect confidential information.

"This is an important step forward to start with, but much more needs to be done," Yukiya Amano, the director of the IAEA, said. "Under the framework, Iran and the IAEA will cooperate further with respect to verification activities to be undertaken by the IAEA to resolve all present and past issues."

The framework, which was signed by Amano and Iranian Vice President Ali Akbar Salehi, includes an annex listing practical steps to be taken by Iran in the next three months. Such steps include providing mutually agreed relevant information and access to the Gchine mine in Bandar Abbas and the heavy water production plant, providing information regarding 16 sites designated for the construction of nuclear power plant, providing information on all new research reactors and clarification on announcements made by Iran related to additional enrichment facilities.

Amano said that all outstanding issues not contained in the annex will be addressed in subsequent steps under the framework.

"The IAEA is firmly committed to resolving all outstanding issues through dialogue and cooperation," Amano said.