Iran Monitoring Going Smoothly

French President Emmanuel  Macron (2nd L) meets IAEA chief  Yukiya Amano (R) in Paris on Oct. 19.  French President Emmanuel  Macron (2nd L) meets IAEA chief  Yukiya Amano (R) in Paris on Oct. 19.

The UN atomic watchdog chief said on Thursday his inspectors had yet to encounter problems with Iran a week after US President Donald Trump refused to certify that Tehran was complying with the 2015 nuclear deal. In a significant US policy shift on Oct. 13, Trump disavowed Iran’s compliance with the deal it sealed with world powers and launched a more aggressive approach toward the Islamic Republic over its missile development activity.

“We haven’t had sufficient time to see [a change] in the attitude of the Iranians, but they are cautious and we continue our control and verification activities without any problems,” International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Yukiya Amano said after meeting French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, Reuters reported.          

The pact between six major powers and Iran restricts its uranium enrichment program in exchange for the lifting of sanctions against the Islamic Republic. Compliance with those curbs is being verified by the IAEA.

  Call for Rigorous Enforcement  

Amano, who had earlier met French President Emmanuel Macron, said Tehran was also giving the IAEA full access to all the sites it needed to inspect. Macron had earlier urged the Vienna-based UN agency to continue to ensure strict compliance with the nuclear deal, a message echoed by his foreign minister.

"Thanks to the IAEA, we don't have any concerns on this. The [deal] is being implemented transparently and we believe that Iran up to now has met its commitments since 2015," Le Drian said.

Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps said on Thursday its missile program would accelerate despite US and European Union pressure to suspend it. When asked whether Paris wanted to add sanctions on the IRGC, as the US administration has called for, Le Drian said it was crucial to keep the nuclear dossier separate from Iran's other activities.

"The other activities are serious, but are not part of the accord," he said.

"We will soon have the opportunity to strongly press the Iranians on these two subjects [missiles and activities in the Middle East] and we shall then be able to draw consequences," he said, mentioning his plan for a trip to Tehran in coming weeks. The IRGC said in a statement, "Iran's ballistic missile program will expand and it will continue with more speed in reaction to Trump's hostile approach [toward IRGC]."

The Trump administration has imposed new unilateral sanctions aimed at impairing Iran's missile defense program. Tehran has repeatedly pledged to continue its defensive missile capability in defiance of western criticism.

"Trump's anxiety and trembling voice in his speech were a sign of the beginning of the end of America's hegemony," Tasnim News Agency quoted IRGC Commander Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari as saying. "Boosting Iran's defense power remains our top priority."

Iran has one of the most advanced ballistic missile program in the Middle East, viewing it as an essential precautionary defense against the United States and other adversaries.

"Imposing cruel sanctions against the IRGC and the hostile approach of the rogue and brute [US] president shows the failure of America and the Zionist regime's wicked policies in the region," the IRGC statement said. "More decisive and stronger than ever, the IRGC will continue to defend Islamic Iran and its interests."

Trump's hardened Iran stance has united officials behind the IRGC.

"Today, Iranians, boys, girls, men, women, are all IRGC. Standing firm with those who defend us and the region against aggression and terror," Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif wrote on his Twitter account after Trump's speech.


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