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Iran Sticking to Nuclear Deal

by AFP

Joe Klamar—AFP

U.N. watchdog IAEA confirms Tehran is abiding by terms of nuclear accord despite fresh U.S. sanctions

Iran has been abiding by the terms of its nuclear deal with global powers, the latest report from the U.N. atomic watchdog indicated on Monday, days after fresh U.S. sanctions hit the country.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)’s latest report showed that as of early November, Iran had been complying with the restrictions to its nuclear program laid down in the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

Sweeping new American sanctions against Iran, which came into effect on Nov. 5, have raised fears about whether the deal can survive. Some parts of the fieldwork in the report took place before the sanctions came into effect, but a senior diplomat with knowledge of the situation said there was “nothing that indicates that… cooperation from Iran or its attitude has changed since Nov. 5.”

The report said that as of Nov. 4, Iran’s stockpiles of low-enriched uranium stood at 149.4kg, 10kg up from the time of its last report in August. However, this is still well within the limits set by the JCPOA.

The agency repeated language which has appeared in two previous reports emphasizing the importance of “timely and proactive cooperation in providing such access” on Iran’s part.

However, the senior diplomat suggested that this was meant less as an admonition to Iran than as encouragement to maintain the current level of cooperation.

The report makes no mention of recent claims made by Israeli Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu that Iran was harboring a secret atomic warehouse.

The latest American sanctions aim to cut off Iran’s banks from international finance and significantly cut its oil exports. Those have already fallen by up to one million barrels a day since May, when U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew from the JCPOA, branding it a “disaster.”

Iran’s economy was already reeling from the effect of U.S. sanctions imposed earlier in the year. On Friday U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton warned that more sanctions were possible.

Iran has said the future of the JCPOA would be called into question if it no longer received the economic benefits of the deal. The deal envisaged sanctions on Iran being lifted in return for it accepting IAEA inspections and limits on its nuclear activities.

The remaining five signatories to the JCPOA—Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia—have backed an E.U. effort to set up a special payment system in an attempt to continue trade and business ties with Iran. However, some European companies have already pulled out of Iran. Earlier this month senior E.U. officials admitted that the mechanism was proving difficult to set up.

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