UN chief hopes Iran nuclear deal will survive

ISLAMABAD: UNITED NATIONS: A United Nations Spokesman on Friday said Secretary-General Antonio Guterres strongly hoped the Iran nuclear deal would remain in place, after US President Donald Trump’s decision to “decertify” the 2015 accord.

“The Secretary-General has repeatedly said that the adoption of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was a very important breakthrough to consolidate nuclear non-proliferation and advance global peace and security,” Spokesman StÃphane Dujarric said in a statement, adding that the UN chief strongly hoped that it would remain in place.

The international deal, reached between Iran and the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and the European Union (EU), saw Tehran curtailing its nuclear programme in exchange for the easing of crippling economic sanctions.

In a White House address on Friday, Trump struck a blow to the accord in defiance of other world powers, and despite the UN nuclear watchdog’s repeated confirmations that Iran was complying with its obligations it.

Trump’s move does not amount to a withdrawal from the deal, but put its future squarely in the hands of the US Congress, which will now have to decide whether to attach new conditions to the agreement or reimpose sanctions on Iran with regard to the country’s nuclear programme.

He threatened, however, that if a deal could not be reached with Congress or US allies, he would walk away from the accord.

Trump’s speech put him at odds with US allies in Europe, as well as Iran and Russia, with leaders saying they would stick by the landmark pact.

In related news Yukiya Amano, the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) issued a statement saying that the IAEA, a specialized agency of the UN, has been, since 2016, verifying and monitoring Iran’s implementation of its nuclear-related commitments under the JCPOA, as requested by the UN Security Council and authorized by the IAEA’s Board of Governors.

“As I have reported to the Board of Governors, the nuclear-related commitments undertaken by Iran under the JCPOA are being implemented,” he said, explaining that Iran is now provisionally implementing the Additional Protocol to its Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement with the IAEA, a powerful verification tool which gives our inspectors broader access to information and locations in Iran.

“So far, the IAEA has had access to all locations it needed to visit’ Amano said, adding “At present, Iran is subject to the world’s most robust nuclear verification regime.”