UN nuclear watchdog: Iran stays within limits of 2015 deal

VIENNA (AP) – Iran is continuing to comply with the landmark 2015 deal with major powers aimed at preventing Tehran from building atomic weapons in exchange for economic incentives despite the United States (US) withdrawing from the pact and re-imposing sanctions, the United Nations (UN) nuclear watchdog said on Friday.

In a confidential quarterly report distributed to its member states and reviewed by The Associated Press, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said Iran has been abiding with key limitations set in the so-called Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA.

The US pulled out of the deal in May and has been pressuring remaining signatories to abandon it as well. Every IAEA quarterly report issued since Washington withdrew from the pact reported Iran remained in compliance. A senior diplomat said no noticeable changes in Tehran’s level of cooperation have been seen since the reinstatement of US sanctions.

“It is continuing at the same level as before,” said the diplomat, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t officially authorised to discuss the report.

In its latest report, the Vienna-based agency said its inspectors still have access to all sites and locations in Iran they need to visit.

Iran Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif speaks in Munich, Germany. – AP

“Timely and proactive cooperation by Iran in providing such access facilitates implementation of the additional protocol and enhances confidence,” the report stated, referring to the procedure detailing safeguards and tools for verification.

The same language appeared in past quarterly reports,

The UN agency noted that Iran’s stocks of heavy water and low-enriched uranium still were under the limits set in the 2015 pact.

The other nations involved in the JCPOA – Germany, Britain, France, Russia and China – along with the European Union have so far shown no inclination to abandon the agreement. They instead have tried to provide Iran with enough economic incentives to keep it alive.

Last month, Britain, France and Germany established a barter-type system known as INSTEX that is designed to allow their businesses to skirt direct financial transactions with Iran and thereby evade possible US sanctions.