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UN Nuclear Watchdog Claims, Iran Still Sticks on The Deal Terms

"Timely and proactive cooperation by Iran in providing such access facilitates implementation of the Additional Protocol and enhances confidence," the report stated, referring to the procedure detailing safeguards and tools for verification.

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Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, IAEA, Yukiya Amano of Japan, addresses the media during a news conference in Vienna, Austria, Nov. 22, 2018. VOA

Iran is continuing to comply with the landmark 2015 deal with major powers aimed at preventing Tehran from building atomic weapons in exchange for economic incentives despite the United States withdrawing from the pact and re-imposing sanctions, the U.N. nuclear watchdog said Friday.

In a confidential quarterly report distributed to its member states and reviewed by The Associated Press, the International Atomic Energy Agency said Iran has been abiding with key limitations set in the so-called Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA.

The U.S. pulled out of the deal in May and been pressuring remaining signatories to abandon it as well.

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The U.S. pulled out of the deal in May and been pressuring remaining signatories to abandon it as well. VOA

Every IAEA quarterly report issued since Washington withdrew reported Iran remained in compliance.

In its report, the Vienna-based agency said its inspectors still have access to all sites and locations in Iran they needed to visit.

“Timely and proactive cooperation by Iran in providing such access facilitates implementation of the Additional Protocol and enhances confidence,” the report stated, referring to the procedure detailing safeguards and tools for verification.

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It noted that Iran’s stock of heavy water and low-enriched uranium continues to be under the limits set under the 2015 pact.

The other nations involved – Germany, Britain, France, Russia and China, as well as the European Union – have so far shown no inclination of abandoning the agreement. They instead have tried to provide Iran with enough economic incentives to make it work. (VOA)

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US Hits Iran with New Sanctions; Petrochemicals Targeted

Washington is pressuring Iran over its nuclear and ballistic missile program

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US, Iran, Petrochemicals
FILE - A man walks past the Mahshahr petrochemical plant in Khuzestan province, southwest of Tehran, Iran. VOA

The United States on Friday imposed new sanctions on Iran targeting the country’s petrochemical industry, including its largest petrochemical holding group, over its financial support for the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), the Treasury Department said.

Washington is pressuring Iran over its nuclear and ballistic missile program and for waging proxy wars in other Middle Eastern countries. The new measures follow a round of sanctions imposed last month that targeted the Islamic Republic’s export revenues from industrial metals.

Tensions between the two countries worsened last month when the Trump administration ordered the deployment of an aircraft carrier strike group, bombers and Patriot missiles to the Middle East, citing intelligence about possible Iranian preparations to attack U.S. forces or interests.

The Pentagon has also accused the IRGC of being directly responsible for May 12 attacks off the United Arab Emirates coast that damaged two Saudi tankers, an Emirati vessel and a Norwegian tanker.

US, Iran, Petrochemicals
The United States on Friday imposed new sanctions on Iran targeting the country’s petrochemical industry. Pixabay

Friday’s sanctions target Persian Gulf Petrochemical Industries Company (PGPIC) for providing financial support for the economic arm of the IRGC, Iran’s elite military unit in charge of Iran’s ballistic missile and nuclear programs.

The U.S. Treasury also designated the holding group’s network of 39 subsidiary petrochemical companies and foreign-based sales agents. PGPIC and its subsidiaries hold 40% of Iran’s petrochemical production capacity and are responsible for 50% of Iran’s petrochemical exports, it said.

“By targeting this network we intend to deny funding to key elements of Iran’s petrochemical sector that provide support to the IRGC,” U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement.

The Treasury statement said Iran’s oil ministry last year awarded the IRGC’s Khatam al-Anbiya, the IRGC’s economic and engineering arm, 10 projects in oil and petrochemical industries worth $22 billion, four times the official budget of the IRGC.

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President Donald Trump last year pulled out of a 2015 agreement between Iran and world powers to curb its nuclear program in exchange for easing some sanctions, saying it did not go far enough.

The Trump administration has since taken several unprecedented steps to squeeze Iran, such as demanding the world halt all imports of Iranian oil and designating the IRGC as a foreign terrorist organization, which Iran has cast as an American provocation.

U.S. law already punished U.S. persons who deal with the IRGC with up to 20 years in prison because of the group’s designation under the Specially Designated Global Terrorist list, a different sanctions program. (VOA)