The new US administration has not yet decided what to do about the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, the head of the UN atomic watchdog said Monday following talks in Washington.
“The new administration of the United States just started and they are looking at this issue,” International Atomic Energy Agency chief Yukiya Amano said.
They are looking “not only at that issue but also at many other issues. So it is very early for them to give their assessment,” he told a news conference.
Amano held talks on Thursday with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and other senior officials in Washington for the first time since Donald Trump became president in January.
During his meeting with Tillerson, Amano told reporters on Monday that he emphasized the benefits of the nuclear agreement, and expressed confidence his message was heard by US officials.
He further assured Tillerson that thanks to the 2015 agreement, the IAEA now has the “strongest verification” tools to monitor Tehran’s atomic activities and that “the nuclear activities of Iran are reduced.”
Amano told reporters Monday that he is confident of “very good cooperation” with the United States on Iran.
Trump said while campaigning for the presidency that he wanted to “dismantle” the July 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and six major powers including the United States.
The agreement saw Iran scale down substantially its nuclear activities and submit to ultra-close IAEA inspections in exchange for relief from painful sanctions.
The accord extends the “breakout time” needed for Iran to accumulate enough fissile material for a bomb to at least a year, giving the international community time to react, proponents say.
Iran has always denied wanting nuclear weapons, saying its activities are purely peaceful. Amano said Monday the deal was a “net gain from a verification point of view”.
Regardless of Trump’s barbs on the campaign trail, none of the five other major powers to the deal — Britain, China, France, Russia and Germany — want to end the agreement.
The IAEA has said that Iran has complied with the accord’s conditions since it formally came into force in January 2016.
Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.