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American Deal-Breaking Attempts a Lost Cause

American Deal-Breaking Attempts a Lost CauseAmerican Deal-Breaking Attempts a Lost Cause

The US pressure on the UN nuclear watchdog to declare Iran in breach of its obligations under the 2015 nuclear deal has proved futile as the agency appears to have refused to cave in, a former ambassador to the UN said.

"The Americans' project of pressure on the International Atomic Energy Agency to avoid verifying Iran's commitment to the implementation of JCPOA has failed," Ali Khorram was quoted by IRNA as saying in an interview on Saturday.

JCPOA stands for the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the formal name of the landmark nuclear pact.

Former US president, Barack Obama, alongside the governments of four other permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany, negotiated the action plan with the Islamic Republic to curtail its nuclear development in return for granting it relief from international sanctions.

Obama's hawkish successor Donald Trump, however, is bent on renegotiating or abrogating it to please its regional allies that are the biggest buyers of American arms.

In line with this objective, Trump sent his UN envoy Nikki Haley to IAEA's headquarters in Vienna, Austria, on Wednesday for talks with the agency's nuclear safety experts and Director General Yukiya Amano.

IAEA is tasked with overseeing the landmark pact and has confirmed Iran's compliance in all its quarterly reports since it was put in place in January 2016.

Iran has criticized Haley's trip as part of the US administration's policy to undermine the nuclear agreement by interfering in IAEA's task.

  US Plan B

Khorram said the Trump administration has resorted to pressuring the UN nuclear agency after it found its policy of additional sanctions against Iran to be ineffective.

"The first tactic that was put to test after Trump took office was harassing Iran by applying sanctions similar to the past ones to ultimately compel it to violate the nuclear agreement," he said.

"But Iran remained vigilant and did not allow the US sanctions measures to adversely affect its commitment to the deal and this was officially confirmed by IAEA and even the Trump administration itself."

Trump, whose administration is bound by law to notify Congress of its assessment of Iran's JCPOA performance every 90 days, has twice certified Tehran's compliance, with the second time taking place as recently as last month.

But Trump signed off on July's certification begrudgingly and has assigned a team of trusted White House staffers to come up with a way to declare Tehran in breach of the action plan by the next certification deadline in mid-October.

Haley acknowledged on Friday that the US is pressing the IAEA to seek access to Iran's military bases to ensure that it is not concealing activities banned by the deal, Reuters reported.

"We are encouraging the IAEA to use all the authorities they have and to pursue every angle possible" to verify compliance with the nuclear deal, she said.

"The JCPOA made no distinction between military and non-military sites. There are also numerous undeclared sites that have not been inspected. That is a problem," Haley claimed.

Iran's top authorities have rejected giving international inspectors access to their military sites and warned that any such move would seriously undermine its national interests.

 

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