IAEA says Iran upholding deal, as Trump looks to ‘decertify’ it
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IAEA says Iran upholding deal, as Trump looks to ‘decertify’ it

UN atomic agency chief: Tehran's 'nuclear-related commitments' under agreement 'are being implemented'

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) director general Yukiya Amano delivers a speech during a meeting at Accademia dei Lincei in Rome on October 9, 2017. (AFP/ TIZIANA FABI)
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) director general Yukiya Amano delivers a speech during a meeting at Accademia dei Lincei in Rome on October 9, 2017. (AFP/ TIZIANA FABI)

The UN atomic agency chief on Monday affirmed Iran’s commitment to a 2015 nuclear deal, in a statement that comes as the US has argued that Tehran was violating the “spirit” of the accord, with US President Donald Trump looking to “decertify” it.

“I can state that the nuclear-related commitments undertaken by Iran under the (nuclear agreement) are being implemented,” International Atomic Energy Agency chief Yukiya Amano said in prepared remarks during a conference in Rome.

An IAEA report released last month had also affirmed Iran’s compliance with the program, which froze some of Tehran’s nuclear activities.

Iran’s stock of low-enriched uranium — used for peaceful purposes, but when further processed for a weapon — did not exceed the agreed limit of 300 kilograms (661 pounds), the report said.

It added that Iran “has not pursued the construction of the Arak… reactor” — which could give it weapons-grade plutonium — and has not enriched uranium above low purity levels.

Then-US Secretary of State John Kerry talks with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on May 30, 2015 in Geneva. (AFP / POOL / SUSAN WALSH)

The landmark deal was signed in July 2015 by Iran and five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council (Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States) plus Germany — establishing controls to prevent Tehran from developing an atomic bomb.

The EU’s diplomatic chief, Federica Mogherini, said Iran’s compliance with the accord had been verified on at least eight separate occasions.

High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs, Federica Mogherini, holds a press conference with the Lebanese foreign minister after their meeting in Beirut on January 26, 2017. (AFP/Joseph Eid)

It is time to “invest in international cooperation” and “open new channels and not destroy the ones we already have,” she said by video conference.

It is “certainly not the time to dismantle them.”

‘Worst deal ever’

Faced with the growing threat from North Korea, “we cannot afford to open a new front,” Mogherini added.

Trump is a fierce critic of the 2015 accord, which he has called “the worst deal ever” and an “embarrassment,” and he is expected to announce that he is “decertifying” Iran’s compliance with it.

US officials insist this will not sink the deal itself but open the way for Congress to possibly develop new measures to punish other aspects of Iran’s behavior.

US President Donald Trump boards Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base on October 7, 2017 in Maryland. (AFP PHOTO / Brendan Smialowski)

Congress requires the president to certify Iranian compliance with the deal every 90 days. The next certification date is October 15.

Under the law, Congress would then have 60 days to decide whether to reimpose sanctions lifted by the deal.

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