Iran still abiding by nuclear deal terms: IAEA
Iran is sticking to the terms of its nuclear deal with world powers, a UN atomic watchdog report showed Thursday, despite ongoing uncertainty over its future.
The report from the International Atomic Energy Agency showed that Iran was still complying with the key parameters of the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
It comes despite the future of the deal being thrown into doubt after US President Donald Trump withdrew from the pact in May and re-imposed US sanctions.
The latest report says the IAEA had had access “to all the sites and locations in Iran which it needed to visit”.
However, the agency repeats language in its previous report emphasising the importance of “timely and proactive cooperation in providing such access” on Iran’s part.
The report said Iran’s stockpiles of low-enriched uranium and heavy water had both slightly increased since the last report in May, but were still under the limits agreed in the deal.
Iran’s economy has been battered by the return of US sanctions following Trump’s decision, undermining support for the deal within Iran.
On Wednesday Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Tehran should be ready to “set aside” the JCPOA if it is no longer in the country’s national interests.
However Khamenei said talks should continue with European states, who have been trying to find a way to salvage the agreement.
Last week, the EU agreed an 18 million euro package of assistance to Iran “for projects in support of sustainable economic and social development” in the Islamic Republic, the first tranche of a wider package worth 50 million euros.
Most foreign firms have abandoned investment projects in Iran, and the next phase of renewed US sanctions in November will hit the crucial oil sector.
In June, in a bid to mount pressure on the Europeans, Iran announced a plan to increase its uranium enrichment capacity with new centrifuges in the event that the agreement collapses, while still denying any desire to build a nuclear weapon.
Under the 2015 agreement, Iran can only enrich uranium to 3.67 percent -- far below the roughly 90-percent level needed for nuclear weapons.