The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has once again confirmed that Iran has been living up to its commitments under the 2015 landmark nuclear agreement it signed with the P5+1 group of countries.
Iran’s stock of low-enriched uranium as of May 27 was 79.8 kilograms, well below the agreed limit of 300 kilograms, the IAEA said in a confidential report on Friday.
It added that the level of uranium enrichment did not exceed a 3.67 percent cap – well under the maximum five percent regarded as suitable for civilian energy uses.
The new IAEA report, the second since the January inauguration of US President Donald Trump, was sent to the member states amid increasing tensions between Tehran and Washington. Trump has called the nuclear agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), “the worst deal ever negotiated” and vowed to “dismantle” the “disastrous” deal.
According to the quarterly assessment, Iran’s stock of heavy water, a chemical used as a moderator in a type of nuclear reactor that can produce plutonium, was 128.2 tonnes on May 16. Under the JCPOA, Tehran has agreed to keep its heavy water stockpile below 130 metric tonnes.
Iran and the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council – the United States, France, Britain, Russia and China – plus Germany signed the mammoth agreement in July 2015 and started implementing it in January 2016.
Under the JCPOA, Iran undertook to put limitations on its nuclear program in exchange for the removal of nuclear-related sanctions imposed against Tehran.
The UN nuclear agency, in its quarterly report in February, the first since President Trump’s inauguration, said the Islamic Republic has stockpiled roughly half of the enriched uranium allowed under the JCPOA.
“As of 18 February 2017, the quantity of Iran’s uranium enriched up to 3.67 percent U-235 was 101.7 kg,” the IAEA said, adding that it is well below the agreed level of 202.8 kilos, which is equivalent to 300 kilos of uranium hexafluoride.
The Iranian ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has warned the international community of the major threat posed by the Israeli regime’s nuclear arsenal to global peace and security, urging the creation of a Middle East region without nukes.
“The Israeli regime, with the indiscriminate support of the US, is the main obstacle to the establishment of a Middle East region free of nuclear weapons,” Reza Najafi said in an address to the first session of the Preparatory Committee for the 2020 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons in the Austrian capital city of Vienna on Tuesday.
He added that the elimination of nuclear arms is of particular importance in the Middle East, where the “nuclear weapons of the Israeli regime are a matter of concern and a serious threat to regional and international peace and security.”
The Iranian envoy to the UN nuclear agency emphasized that if a nuclear-weapon-free zone is declared and established in the Middle East, the Israeli regime would have no choice but to accede to the NPT and to eliminate all its nuclear arsenal.
He said if the Tel Aviv regime is stripped of its nuclear arsenal, it will lose its main tool for bullying, aggression, oppression, intimidation, and expansionist policies in the region.
He added that the only way for the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East is for the international community to exert sustained pressure on Israel in order to compel it to accede, promptly and unconditionally, to the NPT and to place all of its nuclear activities and installations under complete IAEA safeguards.
Israel, which pursues a policy of deliberate ambiguity about its nuclear weapons, is estimated to have 200 to 400 nuclear warheads in its arsenal. The regime has refused to allow inspections of its military nuclear facilities or sign the NPT.
Najafi said Iran supports the idea of building a region without nukes, adding that the Islamic Republic’s membership at many disarmament treaties and conventions as well as its close cooperation with the IAEA indicate Tehran’s full compliance with non-proliferation and a Middle East without any nuclear weapons.
The envoy urged the 2020 Review Conference to prioritize the consideration of the issue of a nuke-free Mideast and agree on concrete steps for the speedy implementation of all previous resolutions in this regard.
The preparatory committee, which opened in Austria on May 2 and will conclude on May 12, is responsible for addressing substantive and procedural issues related to the NPT.