UN nuclear watchdog chief renews call for Iran to cooperate on inspections
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UN nuclear watchdog chief renews call for Iran to cooperate on inspections

At IAEA board of governors meeting, Yukiya Amano says Iranian enrichment of uranium is within agreed limits but access to sites could be better

Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, IAEA, Yukiya Amano of Japan, waits for the start of the IAEA board of governors meeting at the International Center in Vienna, Austria, June 4, 2018. (Ronald Zak/AP)
Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, IAEA, Yukiya Amano of Japan, waits for the start of the IAEA board of governors meeting at the International Center in Vienna, Austria, June 4, 2018. (Ronald Zak/AP)

The head of the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog has renewed calls for Iran to provide “timely and proactive cooperation” in inspections that are part of the deal meant to prevent it from developing nuclear weapons.

Yukiya Amano spoke Monday to the board of governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna. Last month, in its first report since the US withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal that Israel also opposes, the IAEA said that Iran continues to stay below the maximum level to which it is allowed to enrich uranium and appears to be fulfilling other obligations. But it said Iran is slow when it comes to “complementary access” inspections.

Amano said that “timely and proactive cooperation by Iran in providing such access would facilitate implementation … and enhance confidence.”

A senior diplomat in Vienna, where the IAEA is based, said the call for timely cooperation did not mean that Iran had breached any of the rules of the accord but that the agency was “encouraging (Iran) to go above and beyond the requirements” of the deal.

Tehran could, for example, invite inspectors to sites they had not demanded access to, the diplomat said.

The other signatories to the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) have been scrambling to find ways to keep it going since Trump’s announcement that he would pull out and reinstate US sanctions.

Last month, a senior Iranian official said Trump’s actions had left the landmark accord in “intensive care.”

As its price for staying in the deal, Iran has demanded European powers present an “economic package” to Iran that would mitigate the effects of US sanctions.

Tehran has threatened to restart its uranium enrichment program at an “industrial level” if the 2015 pact falls apart.

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