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Atomic Agency chief says Iran complying with nuclear deal

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The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has said that Iran is keeping to its obligations under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

Speaking at a press conference in Rome, Yukiya Amano said: “I can state that the nuclear-related commitments undertaken by Iran under the (nuclear agreement) are being implemented.”

On 31 August the IAEA confirmed for the eighth consecutive time that Iran is keeping to its nuclear obligations. US President Donald Trump must decide whether to certify to Congress that Iran is complying with the nuclear agreement by 15 October and speculation is growing that he will say that Iran is violating the agreement.

If the President states that Iran is not in compliance, Congress will have 60 days to decide whether to reimpose the sanctions on Iran that were lifted in exchange for the country freezing its nuclear weapons programme. Reimposing sanctions would require 51 votes in the Senate and the Republicans may not have the support they need to win such a vote.

Russia has warned of negative consequences if Trump pulls out of the JCPOA. Dimitry Peskov, spokesperson for Russian President Vladimir Putin said yesterday: “Obviously if one country leaves the deal, especially such a key country as the US, then that will have negative consequences. We can only try to predict the nature of these consequences, which we are doing now.”

The US administration is expected to unveil a new Iran strategy that will include implementing legislation to declare Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) a terrorist group. Iran has threatened a “crushing response” if this were to happen. The Tasnim news agency quoted Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Bahram Qasemi saying that “we hope the US will not make this strategic error. If it does, Iran’s response will be tough, resolute and crushing. The US must bear responsibility afterwards. I hope that people with common sense in Washington will prevent this step”.

Developments on the JCPOA are also being closely watched in Israel. Speaking on Army Radio this morning, former Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon said that while the nuclear deal is undoubtedly bad, his recommended option is to increase sanctions on Iran that are connected to its regional behaviour rather than to cancel the deal. Former head of military intelligence and head of the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) Amos Yadlin told Israeli media that the current deal is not good, but warned against cancelling it without an alternative in place.