Iran sticking to nuclear deal, IAEA says
August 30 2018 06:47 PM
The International Atomic Energy Agency headquarters in Vienna.


Even after the United States pulled out of an international accord to curb Iran's nuclear programme, Tehran has continued to stick to its side of the deal, according to a report from the International Atomic Energy Agency.
Iran's stockpile of enriched uranium - which can be used to make nuclear weapons - was once again significantly below the 300-kilogram limit set out in the deal, the quarterly report, seen by dpa on Thursday, said.
As agreed, construction at the planned Arak reactor, which could have produced plutonium for weapons, has remained suspended, the report added.
It said that Iran had allowed access to IAEA inspectors to review key sites.
The nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), was agreed in 2015 in Vienna by Iran and six world powers.
It is designed to prevent Tehran from building a nuclear bomb in return for the lifting of economic sanctions.
The IAEA has found no violations of the deal on Iran's part since inspections began in January 2016.
The US withdrew from the agreement in May and began reimposing sanctions on Iran at the start of August, with further sanctions on the country's finance and energy sectors to follow on November 4.
President Donald Trump has been sharply critical of the JCPOA, calling it a "horrible one-sided deal that should have never, ever been made." Its critics claim that Iran is likely to continue its nuclear weapons programme once the deal expires.
The other JCPOA parties - Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany - have pledged to salvage the deal.
"I see that the Vienna agreement still stands and that the American withdrawal has not prevented it from continuing," French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said, ahead of a meeting in the Austrian capital with his EU counterparts at which the nuclear deal was up for
"It is essential for our safety. And it is essential for nuclear non-proliferation," the minister added, noting that European partners were working hard to provide Tehran with the financial mechanisms required to keep trading internationally.
Despite the reintroduction of US sanctions, the European Union is seeking to preserve the economic benefits of the Iran nuclear deal, as these are key to convince Tehran to keep complying with the agreement. 
However, Le Drian also warned that Iran "cannot avoid discussions" about three issues: its nuclear ambitions beyond 2025, when large parts of the nuclear deal expire; ballistic missile proliferation; and Tehran's destabilising role in the region.

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