By staff and agency

UN atomic watchdog chief worried about tensions over Iran’s nuclear issue

June 10, 2019 - 21:18

Yukiya Amano, the head of the UN nuclear watchdog, has said that he is worried about increasing tensions over the Iranian nuclear issue.

“I am worried about increasing tensions over the Iranian nuclear issue. As I have constantly emphasized, the nuclear-related commitments entered into by Iran under the JCPOA [the 2015 nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action] represent a significant gain for nuclear verification. I therefore hope that ways can be found to reduce current tensions through dialogue. It is essential that Iran fully implements its nuclear-related commitments under the JCPOA,” he said on Monday in an introductory statement to the board of governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

He said, “On May 8th, Iran’s Supreme National Security Council announced that it had ‘issued an order to stop some of Iran’s measures under the JCPOA from today’.”

“The Agency continues to verify the non-diversion of nuclear material declared by Iran under its Safeguards Agreement. Evaluations regarding the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran continue,” he noted.

On May 31, Amano reaffirmed Iran’s complying with the JCPOA.

On May 8, Iran announced a partial withdrawal from some aspects of the pact, saying that the country would no longer adhere to some of the limits on its nuclear activities. It also threatened to step up uranium enrichment if an agreement is not made within 60 days to shield it from the sanctions’ effects.

Under the JCPOA, Iran agreed to put caps on its nuclear work in exchange for termination of economic and financial sanctions. However, Trump unilaterally pulled Washington out of the nuclear deal in May 2018 and ordered reimposition of sanctions against Iran. The first round of sanctions went into force on August 6 and the second round, which targets Iran’s oil exports and banks, were snapped back on November 4.

Also, on April 22 the U.S. announced that Washington has decided not to extend waivers allowing major importers to continue buying oil from Iran. The waivers ended on May 2.