Monday, 25 March, 2019

Iran honouring 2015 nuclear deal: Watchdog

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The UN’s nuclear watchdog says Iran is abiding by a 2015 deal with major powers aimed at preventing Tehran from building atomic weapons in exchange for economic incentives.

In a confidential quarterly report distributed to member states and reviewed by The Associated Press, the International Atomic Energy Agency said Iran has been abiding with key limitations set in the so-called Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

The issue has grown more complicated since the US withdrew unilaterally in May from the deal and then re-imposed sanctions.

Iran’s economy has been struggling ever since and its currency has plummeted in value.

The other signatories to the deal – Germany, Britain, France, Russia and China – are continuing to try and make it work.

In the report, the Vienna-based IAEA said the agency had access to all sites in Iran that it needed to visit and that inspectors confirmed Iran has kept within limits of heavy water and low-enriched uranium stockpiles.

In its last quarterly report in August, the agency also concluded Iran had stayed within key limitations set by the JCPOA.

A senior diplomat who spoke on condition of anonymity said there was nothing to indicate Iran’s co-operation or attitude has changed since November 5.

On that date, the US re-imposed further oil and banking sanctions on Iran that where lifted under the 2015 deal.

The US granted waivers to eight countries, including Japan and Turkey, to continue buying Iranian petroleum products without penalty for another six months.

The latest batch of US sanctions severely impacts Iran’s oil industry, the major source of the country’s foreign revenue.

Tehran worries OPEC and non-OPEC countries such as Russia will increase their production to fill the gap in response.

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