IAEA Director Disputes Trump’s Anti-JCPOA Claims

Yukiya AmanoYukiya Amano

The UN nuclear chief disputed US President Donald Trump's assertions against the 2015 Iran nuclear accord and the mandate of the International Atomic Energy Agency in monitoring the pact's implementation.

"We have had access to all the locations that we needed to visit," IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano said in an interview with Financial Times on Tuesday, saying that his agency's role has been "overly exaggerated".

The pact, formally named the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, was agreed between Iran and the administration of Trump's predecessor, Barack Obama, and those of the other five major powers.

It gave Tehran relief from international sanctions in return for time-bound curbs on its nuclear program that the IAEA has been tasked with monitoring.

But despite the documented, full verification of the Islamic Republic's commitments by the Vienna-based agency, the sole official authority with a mandate to monitor JCPOA's implementation, Trump has severely criticized the deal for allegedly containing "many flaws" and has been pushing the nuclear watchdog to pressure Iran by seeking access to military sites.

Iranian officials have ruled out any foreign visits to military facilities, citing national security concerns.

***Full Adherence

Amano dismissed Trump's objection that his organization is not using its "full inspection authorities", reiterating that "Iran is under the most robust verification agreement in the world now. As of today, we can say that the commitments are being implemented."

Amano discussed, among other issues, Trump's anti-deal stance with the EU foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, on Tuesday before her scheduled meetings with the US envoy to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, today and with senior US lawmakers later this week.

Last month, Trump defied the IAEA's reports that all have verified Iran's commitments by declaring Iran in non-compliance in a quarterly notification to congress of the US administration's assessment of Iran's commitments, as required under US law.

Washington's European allies that helped it negotiate the Iran deal have railed against the move by the beleaguered Republican hawk and have reaffirmed their commitment to the pact.

Amano undertook a one-day trip to Tehran last month, where he met some of the country's top officials, namely President Hassan Rouhani, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran.

He reconfirmed Iran's full compliance with the deal during that trip, in remarks that sent a strong signal to Trump.

"Iran is carrying out all its commitments and all others involved in the JCPOA should do the same," he said.

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