A U.N. agency said it requires more money to keep Iran's disputed nuclear program under tightened surveillance for four extra months, Reuters reports.
The International Atomic Energy Agency on Thursday said it would require $1.3 million to maintain the intensified monitoring regime, which Iran accepted under an interim bargain with the five permanent U.N. Security Council member nations and Germany. The half-year accord took effect in January and was set to expire on July 20, but the sides renewed it for more time to negotiate long-term plans to rein in Tehran's weapon-usable atomic activities. Iran insists the efforts are peaceful, but may accept restrictions in return for sanctions relief.
The agency conducts daily inspections of key Iranian atomic sites under the deal, a move intended to ensure no materials at the sites are diverted for nuclear-bomb work. The Vienna-based nuclear watchdog previously carried out audits of Iran's Natanz and Qum uranium-enrichment facilities just once each week.
The negotiating powers have asked the U.N. organization to "continue to undertake the necessary nuclear-related monitoring and verification activities in Iran," the agency said in an unreleased statement.
"Continuation of the [monitoring] activities will require additional financial resources for the agency," the document states. "Assuming that all contributing member states agree to the continued use of their unspent contributions, an additional amount of [$1.3 million] would be required."
Last week's four-month renewal plan includes additional elements that the agency must oversee, including a requirement for Iran to convert a portion of its enriched uranium into material for a civilian research reactor.