World

Iran sticking to nuclear deal, says UN official

Trump warned that taking hard line against Iran will put N. Korea off any deal

ROME: The United Nations atomic agency chief yesterday affirmed Iran's commitment to a 2015 nuclear deal, even as US President Donald Trump said Teheran was not living up to the "spirit" of the agreement.

"I can state that the nuclear-related commitments undertaken by Iran under the (nuclear agreement) are being implemented," International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief Yukiya Amano said during a conference in Rome.

An IAEA report released last month had also affirmed Iran's compliance with the programme, which froze some of Tehran's nuclear activities.

Iran's stocks of low-enriched uranium are used for peaceful purposes and, when further processed for a weapon, did not exceed the agreed limit of 300kg.

It added that Iran has not pursued the construction of a reactor which could give it weapons-grade plutonium and has not enriched uranium above low purity levels.

The landmark deal was signed in July 2015 by Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council (Britain, China, France, Russia and the US) plus Germany - to prevent Tehran from developing an atomic bomb.

Mr Trump is a fierce critic of the 2015 accord, which he has called "the worst deal ever", and he is expected to announce next week that he is "decertifying" Iran's compliance with it and also come up with measures to contain Iran.

Other nations have warned against the US taking a hard line against Iran on this issue, especially as tension with nuclear-armed North Korea escalates.

Germany Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel told reporters in Berlin that such comments from the US will turn North Korea off any accord to halt its nuclear weapons programme.

The minister added that Germany was ready to increase pressure on Iran, with diplomatic means, but that "we do not want to see this agreement damaged".

"Our big concern is with regard to North Korea, that it is very unlikely the North Korean dictatorship is ready to agree to an international agreement to renounce the building of nuclear weapons if the only agreement in the world that has allowed such a renunciation is at the same time called into question."

Moscow also warned of "negative consequences" if Mr Trump failed to uphold the landmark nuclear deal. 
- AFP, REUTERS

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