The U.N. atomic agency chief affirmed yesterday Iran's commitment to a 2015 nuclear deal, in a statement that came as US President Donald Trump said Tehran was not living up to the "spirit" of the agreement.
"I can state that the nuclear-related commitments undertaken by Iran under [the nuclear agreement] are being implemented," International Atomic Energy Agency chief Yukiya Amano said in prepared remarks during a conference in Rome.
An IAEA report released last month had also affirmed Iran's compliance with the program, which froze some of Tehran's nuclear activities.
Iran's stock of low-enriched uranium used for peaceful purposes, but when further processed for a weapon, did not exceed the agreed limit of 300 kilos (661 pounds), the report said.
It added that Iran "has not pursued the construction of the Arak... reactor" -- which could give it weapons-grade plutonium -- and has not enriched uranium above low purity levels.
The landmark deal was signed in July 2015 by Iran and five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council (Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States) plus Germany -- establishing controls to prevent Tehran from developing an atomic bomb.
The EU's diplomatic chief Federica Mogherini said Iran's compliance with the accord had been verified on at least eight separate occasions.
It is time to "invest in international cooperation" and "open new channels and not destroy the ones we already have," she said by video conference. It is "certainly not the time to dismantle them".
Faced with the growing threat from North Korea, "we cannot afford to open a new front," Mogherini added.
Trump is a fierce critic of the 2015 accord, which he has called "the worst deal ever", and he is expected to announce that he is "decertifying" Iran's compliance with it.
U.S. officials insist this will not sink the deal itself but open the way for Congress to possibly develop new measures to punish other aspects of Iran's behavior. Congress requires the president to certify Iranian compliance with the deal every 90 days. The next certification date is Oct. 15. Under the law, Congress would then have 60 days to decide whether to reimpose sanctions lifted by the deal.
Trump appears to be stepping back from his campaign pledge to tear up the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, instead aiming to take other measures against Iran and its affiliates.
New actions expected to be announced by the White House in the coming days will focus on the Revolutionary Guard and Hezbollah, the Shiite militant group blamed for sowing discord in the Middle East and seeking Israel's demise. They include financial sanctions on anyone who does business with the Revolutionary Guard, as well as millions of dollars in rewards for information leading to the arrest of two operatives of Iran-backed Hezbollah.