TEHRAN, Iran -- Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says the U.N. nuclear agency's decision to close the books on a decade-long probe of allegations that Tehran worked on nuclear weapons is a "big success."
Rouhani hailed the decision in a televised address Wednesday, saying it paved the way for Iran to fulfill its remaining obligations under a landmark nuclear deal with world powers. The probe had to be formally ended as part of the July 14 agreement, which will lift sanctions in return for Iran curbing its nuclear activities.
U.N. nuclear agency head Yukiya Amano has said his investigation couldn't reconstruct all the details of Iran's past activities. He said Iran worked on studies relevant to making nuclear weapons, with coordinated efforts up to 2003 tapering off into scattered activities up to 2009.
Chief Iranian delegate Reza Najafi on Tuesday denied such work, in keeping with his country's constant line during the protracted probe. In his statement to the board, and then to reporters outside the meeting, he said Tehran's nuclear activities "have always been for peaceful civilian or conventional military uses."
Noting that formal closure of the issue negates a series of critical IAEA resolutions against his country, he proclaimed Tuesday a "historic day" that opens the path to closer cooperation both with the agency and its member nations.
Amano hailed the "very important milestone." At the same time, he noted that -- with his agency charged with monitoring Iran's commitments under a deal that extends for more than a decade -- "much work needs to be done in the future.
"We cannot relax," he said. "We cannot be complacent."
Despite Iranian denials, the U.S. and its allies continue to believe that Tehran did work on components of a nuclear weapon. But their overriding interest is moving ahead to implement the July 14 deal.