Iran Still Holding Up Its End of Nuclear Agreement, IAEA Says

Tehran has remained within the key limits on its nuclear activities imposed by its 2015 deal with major powers despite growing pressure from newly reimposed U.S. sanctions, a report by the U.N. nuclear watchdog indicated on Friday, Reuters informs.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which is policing those nuclear restrictions, said in a confidential quarterly report seen by Reuters that Iran stayed within caps on the level to which it can enrich uranium, as well as its stock of enriched uranium.

The agency also repeated its usual statement that it carried out so-called complementary access inspections – which are often at short notice – at all locations in Iran that it needed to visit.

President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of the Iran nuclear deal last May, reimposing U.S. sanctions on Iran’s economy and lifeblood oil industry that were lifted under the 2015 agreement in the months that followed.

European powers France, Britain and Germany have also sought to cushion the blow to Iran of those sanctions. They are setting up a new channel for non-dollar trade with Iran but diplomats say it will not be able to handle the big transactions Iran says it needs to keep the deal afloat, Reuters adds.

Setting up that channel, however, has angered Washington for undermining its effort to choke Iran’s economy in response to Tehran’s ballistic missile program and its influence on the wars in Syria and Yemen.

Vice President Mike Pence last week called on those European powers to follow Washington in pulling out of the agreement despite their long-held position that the deal is worth keeping as long as Iran sticks to it.

That deal lifted sanctions against Tehran in exchange for restrictions on Tehran’s atomic activities aimed at increasing the time Iran would need to make an atom bomb if it chose to do so. Tehran has long stated that it wants nuclear power only for civilian energy purposes.

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