UN Nuclear Wing IAEA Praises Iran’s Nuke Deal Commitment

Yukiya Amano

The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Yukiya Amano has said Iran is living up to its commitments under the 2015 international nuclear deal, the media reported.

This comes days after Trump decertified the Iran nuclear deal – known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) – while, at the same time, not pulling out of it.

He has asked the US Congress to put in additional sanctions on Iran, so that Iran “behaves” the way US wants it.

Since January 2016, the IAEA has monitored Iran’s nuclear commitments under the nuclear agreement, and conducted verification checks, said Amano on Sunday, Xinhua news agency reported.

JCPOA has the five permanent members of the Security Council, namely the US, Russia, China, UK, France, apart from Iran (P5+1), as parties to the agreement. The 159 page JCPOA document has a detailed a roadmap of actions that Iran has to undertake. All of these have been fulfilled by Iran, and meticulously verified by the International Atomic Energy Association (IAEA) that has been tasked with overseeing the implementation of JCPOA.

“The agency believes that the JCPOA is an important achievement for verification. The agency could stipulate that Iran’s nuclear commitments under the JCPOA are being implemented,” he was also quoted as saying by Press TV on Sunday, according to Xinhua.

Iran reduced the number of centrifuges from 19,000 to about 6,000, its inventory of Low Enriched Uranium by a whopping 98% – from 10,000 kg to only 300 kg – and stopped Arak and Fordow facilities from all nuclear weapon activities.

Amano made the remarks in a press conference with Iran’s nuclear chief Ali Akbar Salehi.

The IAEA is in charge of monitoring restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program under the nuclear agreement. So far the agency has released eight reports each time confirming Iran’s adherence to the international nuclear pact.

Amano will also hold talks with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif focusing on the verification and monitoring of the implementation of the nuclear deal.

On Sunday, Salehi said that he had exchanged views with Amano about Section T of the JCPOA, which deals with the technology that could contribute to the development of a nuclear explosive device.

Section T does not include special inspections, but the United States is making its own special interpretation of the provision, Salehi was quoted as saying by Press TV.

He warned that “we can produce uranium enrichment at 20 per cent within four days, but we do not want the JCPOA to collapse.”

Following the nuclear agreement between Iran and the major world powers in 2015, which was implemented in January 2016, Iran agreed to stop the enrichment of uranium to 20 per cent level.

Meanwhile, President Hassan Rouhani has said that Iran has the right to build non-nuclear missiles to defend itself. Rouhani insisted that no international agreements prohibit the development of such non-nuclear weapons, and that Iran has a right to produce them for its own defence.

Rouhani’s remarks came on Sunday, three days after the US House of Representatives approved legislation that would impose new sanctions on Tehran for pursuing long-range ballistic missiles, the Los Angeles Times reported.

“We will build, produce and store any weapon of any kind we need to defend ourselves, our territorial integrity and our nation, and we will not hesitate about it,” he said, according to a translation provided by the Iranian Students News Agency.

In negotiating and signing the nuclear deal with the US, Rouhani frequently clashed with more conservative forces in Iran who opposed any cessation of the country’s nuclear weapons program. But there is near unanimity across the political spectrum in Iran on maintaining a robust missile program.

“The missile project is a red line for everybody,” said Saeed Laylaz, an economist and journalist who is considered a political moderate and reformer. “Nobody allows any country to put limits on its defensive military programme.”

Hamid Reza Taraghi, an influential conservative politician who is close to Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, agreed.

“All neighbouring countries in the region have missiles,” he said in an interview. “Israel has nuclear weapons, Pakistan and India have nuclear warheads, then we cannot have missiles? Give me a break.”

According to experts, Iran’s ballistic missiles have a range of a measly 2,000 kms and pose no danger to the US. The reason for unease in the Trump administration is because its close ally Israel falls under the range of Iran’s missile arsenal.

(With inputs from IANS)

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