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UN confident of US cooperation on Iran deal
March 07, 2017
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VIENNA: The chief of the UN atomic watchdog said on Monday he was confident following a visit to Washington of “very good cooperation” with the United States on Iran’s nuclear deal, despite President Donald Trump’s hawkish comments.

The 2015 agreement between Iran and major powers restricts Tehran’s nuclear activities in exchange for the lifting of sanctions against the country, but Trump has called it “the worst deal ever negotiated” and said he wants to “police that contract so tough (the Iranians) don’t have a chance.”

“I am confident that we can have very good cooperation with the United States in the future,” Yukiya Amano, chief of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), told a news conference in Vienna.

Amano met US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in Washington last on Thursday.

During his confirmation hearing Tillerson had called for a “full review” of the deal, which extends the time Iran would need to produce a nuclear weapon if it chose to.

Since Trump took office in January, however, his administration has given little indication of what concrete stance it will take on the Iran agreement.

Neither the IAEA nor the US State Department commented on the content of last week’s meetings, which were Amano’s first with senior members of the Trump administration.

Amano’s remarks on Monday, the first day of a quarterly meeting of the IAEA board of governors, were the first indication of how the talks in Washington had gone, though he did not provide specific details on what Tillerson told him.

“With respect to Iran I made the point that the JCPOA is a net gain from the verification point of view because now we have the strongest verification regime in Iran, while the nuclear activities of Iran are reduced,” Amano said, calling the deal by its full name, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

Part of the more intrusive inspections provided for by the Iran deal is implementation of the IAEA Additional Protocol, which provides for more wide-ranging access to nuclear facilities than under a standard so-called safeguards agreement.

“The Additional Protocol is being implemented without discrimination, without special favour, like in other countries. It is an ongoing process,” he said.


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