Fate of Iran nuclear deal hangs on tough UN policing, says Trump
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Fate of Iran nuclear deal hangs on tough UN policing, says Trump

Iran said the greatest threat to its survival is “the American administration’s hostile attitude.”

world Updated: Sep 18, 2017 19:01 IST
Agencies, Vienna
US,United States of America,Donald Trump
US President Donald Trump speaks during a working lunch with ambassadors of countries on the UN Security Council at the White House in Washington, US, April 24, 2017. (Reuters File Photo)

US President Donald Trump warned Monday that Washington will walk away from a nuclear deal it agreed to with Iran and five other nations if it deems that the International Atomic Energy Agency is not tough enough in monitoring it.

Iran, however, said the greatest threat to the nuclear agreement is US hostility.

The warning from Trump came in a message to the UN agency’s annual meeting, being held in Vienna, that was read by US Energy Secretary Rick Perry.

The United States asserts that Iran is obligated to open its military sites to IAEA inspection on demand if the agency suspects unreported nuclear activities at any of them. That’s something Tehran stridently rejects, and Iranian nuclear chief Ali Akbar Salehi urged the agency and its head, Yukiya Amano, to “resist such unacceptable demands.”

Asserting that Iran is fully complying with terms of the accord, Salehi said the greatest threat to its survival is “the American administration’s hostile attitude.”

But Trump, as quoted by Perry, suggested the deal could stand or fail on IAEA access to Iranian military sites, declaring “we will not accept a weakly enforced or inadequately monitored deal.”

Amano also has said the IAEA’s policing authority extends to Iranian military sites, if necessary. But he said Monday that Iran “is fulfilling the commitments it entered into” under the deal, which took effect early last year and offers sanctions relief in exchange for limits on Iranian nuclear programs that could be turned toward making weapons.

Head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization Ali-Akbar Salehi attends the opening of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) General Conference at their headquarters in Vienna, Austria September 18, 2017. (REUTERS)

Amano on Monday repeated in his speech that Iran “is now subject to the world’s most robust nuclear verification regime”.

The US administration has faced two 90-day certification deadlines to state whether Iran was meeting the conditions needed to continue enjoying sanctions relief under the deal and has both times backed away from a showdown. But Trump more recently has said he does not expect to certify Iran’s compliance with an October deadline looming.

If Trump decides not to certify, Congress will then have 60 days to debate whether to re-impose sanctions.

On Sunday Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Tehran would not submit to US “bullying”.

“The corrupt, lying, deceitful US officials insolently accuse the nation of Iran... of lying, whereas the nation of Iran has acted honestly and will continue on this path until the end in an honest manner,” said Khamenei.

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (Reuters File Photo)

The nuclear deal is expected to be a major topic of discussion at the general assembly of the United Nations starting this week in New York.

The gathering in Vienna also saw as expected the Japanese Amano, 70, appointed to serve a third four-year term as IAEA director general.

First Published: Sep 18, 2017 19:01 IST