US Defence Secretary Mark Esper delivers a speech during a press conference in Paris. Christophe Ena/AP
The United Nations' nuclear watchdog says it has inspectors on the ground in Iran who will be able to look into reports that Tehran began injecting uranium gas into advanced centrifuges in violation of its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers.
The International Atomic Energy Agency told the media on Saturday it was aware of the reports "related to Iran's centrifuge research and development."
The Vienna-based IAEA says "agency inspectors are on the ground in Iran and they will report any relevant activities to IAEA headquarters."
Meantime, IAEA Acting Director General Cornel Feruta was traveling Saturday to Iran.
The agency said he will meet Sunday with high-ranking officials in Tehran as part of what it said were its "ongoing interactions" related to its monitoring under the nuclear deal. The IAEA, which issues compliance reports, meets in Vienna on Monday.
The US's top defence official has condemned Iran's latest breach of the terms of its nuclear deal with world powers, following Tehran's announcement it was using faster centrifuges.
In Paris, US Defence Secretary Mark Esper told reporters Saturday the Iranian moves should not surprise anyone.
At a news conference with his French counterpart, Florence Parly, Esper said: "It's no surprise that the Iranians are going to pursue what the Iranians have always intended to pursue."
Iran denies Washington's accusations that it seeks to develop a nuclear bomb, insisting its program is for peaceful purposes.
Parly said the focus should remain on keeping Iran in the 2015 deal. She said France "will continue to push in that direction."
The US unilaterally pulled out of the accord over a year ago.
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian has described Tehran’s threat to resume nuclear work − in what would be a contravention of its commitments under the 2015 Iran nuclear deal − as a “bad reaction,” calling on Tehran to show “political maturity.” “Iran has had a bad reaction, faced with a bad US decision to withdraw from the Vienna agreements and impose sanctions,” Le Drian said in an interview published online by Le Parisien, referring to the 2015 deal signed in Vienna.
Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, whose current term expires on Dec.31, announced last month that he is seeking a second five-year term.
Vice President Mike Pence says the US will keep up pressure on Iran as the nuclear deal between the Islamic Republic and world powers appears to be crumbling.
In response to alleged threats from Iran, the USS Arlington, which transports marines, amphibious vehicles, conventional landing craft and rotary aircraft, and the Patriot air defence system will join the Abraham Lincoln carrier group, the Pentagon announced on Friday.
Caretaker Information Minister Amir Mir confirmed Elahi's arrest, saying he was in his vehicle and "trying to flee" when he was arrested.
Social media users reacted strongly to the video and the villagers' predicament with comments slamming the concerned authorities for reneging on their promise to provide good rural connectivity.
The marriage of Crown Prince Hussein, 28, and Saudi architect Rajwa Al Saif, 29, drew a star-studded guest list including Britain's Prince William and his wife Kate, as well as US First Lady Jill Biden.
The authorities said that after the issuance of the visit visa, the tourist must enter the country within 60 days from the date of issuance, and the validity of the entry permit will be 30 days or 60 days, depending on the visa sought.