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World Nuclear Watchdog Says Iran In Compliance

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Yukiya Amano addresses a news conference during a board of governors meeting at the IAEA headquarters in Vienna, March 4, 2019

The UN’s nuclear watchdog has found that Iran is not in breach of uranium-enrichment limits agreed to in the 2015 nuclear deal.

A report by the International Atomic Energy Agency – which has reported full access to all sites within Iran – suggests that the country still operates within parameters set by the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, in spite of America’s withdrawal from the agreement under President Trump last year.

Iran left some of its voluntary commitments on 8 May and set a limit of 60 days for continuing to observe JCPOA limits, while asking its fellow signatories to devise a way of lifting sanctions on the oil and banking sectors.

Otherwise, President Hassan Rouhani’s government has promised the resumption of enrichment beyond the threshold set for civilian use.

For now, caps on both Iran’s stock of enriched uranium and the level of enrichment remain in place, the IAEA told Reuters on Friday, 31 May.

Iran pledged to curb its nuclear program in the 2015 deal with world powers in return for the lifting of international sanctions against Tehran.

The U.S. caused an international outcry after stepping back from from the deal a year ago and has since reimposed sanctions, which were tightened further this month.

Tehran has said it is still abiding by the agreement despite the U.S. withdrawal, although it threatened three weeks ago to increase its uranium enrichment if world powers did not find a way to shield it from the impact of U.S. sanctions.

While the deal allows Iran to use thousands of its first-generation IR-1 centrifuges – machines that enrich uranium – it restricts the number of more advanced models to single or double digits. The agency’s report flagged the number of IR-6 models installed as a potential issue, saying: “Technical discussions in relation to the IR-6 centrifuges are ongoing”.