UN: Iran is still abiding by the nuclear deal
Organisation's nuclear watchdog reaffirms Tehran's adherence to 2015 accord amid US - Europe tension over future of the pactEuropost
The UN’s nuclear watchdog says Iran is still abiding by the terms of a 2015 deal that aims to keep Tehran from building atomic weapons in exchange for economic incentives, despite growing pressure from newly-reimposed US sanctions. In a confidential quarterly report distributed to Member States on Friday, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) estimated that the Islamic Republic had kept to the caps placed on its uranium enrichment levels and enriched uranium stocks as part of the 2015 accord, signed in Austria's capital, Vienna.
Those conclusions were made after IAEA inspectors responsible for policing those nuclear restrictions were given access to all sites in the country requiring a visit to verify Iran's ongoing compliance with the deal, the report adds.
Under the agreement, originally brokered between the US, Iran, the UK, France, Germany, Russia, China and the EU, Iran agreed to scale back its uranium enrichment programme and pledged not to develop nuclear weapons in exchange for economic incentives such as lifting of international sanctions. Yet, county's remaining within the key limits on its nuclear activities was in danger due to the reinstatement of sanctions by the United States after it unilaterally withdrew from the pact last year.
Since the US withdrawal from the nuclear pact, tensions between Washington and Tehran - bitter foes since Iran's 1979 revolution - have intensified with both administrations routinely directing hostile rhetoric towards each other. As a result, Washington increased its pressure on European countries into abandoning the JCPOA, as well as reimposing sanctions on Tehran.
Last week, US Vice President Mike Pence has again insisted that "time has come" for the UK, France and Germany to quit the accord and support Washington's efforts to "bring the economic and diplomatic pressure necessary to give the Iranian people, the region, and the world the peace, security, and freedom they deserve". London, Paris and Berlin, however, have so far shown no inclination of abandoning the agreement and instead, have sought to provide Iran with enough economic incentives to make it work. Last month, the three countries, in their attempt to keep the deal alive, even announced the formation of a special payments vehicle, called INSTEX, to bypass US sanctions on Iran.
Russia and China have also remained publicly committed to the existing accord.