Published: Sat, May 26, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Iran complying with nuclear deal, but could do better: IAEA

Iran complying with nuclear deal, but could do better: IAEA

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo issued a 12-point list on Monday calling on Iran to heed US demands that include abandoning uranium enrichment and shutting down its missile program.

Mr Pompeo said the United States would inflict the "strongest sanctions in history" on Iran unless it agreed to 12 American demands, including withdrawing from Syria and halting its funding of militant groups like Hizbollah and Hamas.

The 2015 accord rests on lifting sanctions and allowing business with Iran in exchange for Tehran curbing its nuclear program.

He said that in theory the deal could survive without the USA, but acknowledged "in practice I'm not sure".

But this has proven hard with many European firms alarmed at the spectre of far-reaching U.S. financial penalties. "The Plan B has just started to be figured out", Reuters quoted the official as saying.

It was not, as he said, "insane" and he was incorrect to claim that the USA has paid Iran hundreds of millions of dollars in cash to sustain the deal.

Speaking ahead of the Vienna talks, the Iranian official said that for his country to stay in the deal, the relief granted would have to be guaranteed by the other parties involved and that Tehran needs specifics on how that will happen by the end of May.

The Iranian diplomat added, the Islamic Republic needs a guarantee it will be able to continue to sell its oil on world markets, have global banking access and broad trade protections.

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The "maximalist" demands would be tough for European leader to meet, but Khamenei has shown he is willing to budge in the past.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei made five demands for Europe as the Continent seeks to preserve a 2015 nuclear deal with Iran after the United States pulled out.

He also said that Tehran will decide within a few weeks whether to stay in the deal or not, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action JCPOA, after Washington's dramatic withdrawal on May 8.

In the IAEA's previous report it had said that Iran had informed it of a decision to "construct naval nuclear propulsion in the future". Such a guarantee would potentially cost Europe billions of dollars. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday threatened Iran with "the strongest sanctions in history" if it did not change its behaviour in the Middle East. They have said that as long as Tehran meets its commitments, they would remain in the deal.

In a statement after the talks, Helga Schmid, the European Union representative who chaired the meeting, said parties to the deal discussed "practical solutions" to ensure, among others, the continued sale of Iran's oil and gas, protection of businesses investing in Iran, as well as effective banking transactions and transport links.

The official noted that the International Atomic Energy Agency on Thursday reported Iran had complied with limits on the level to which it can enrich uranium, its stock of enriched uranium and other items. He also rejected any new negotiations over Iran's missile programme, which was not covered in the nuclear deal and which Iran says it will never give up.

French President Emmanuel Macron wants to complement the nuclear deal with negotiations involving all sides over other issues, an idea cautiously received by Russian President Vladimir Putin during talks in St. Petersburg on Thursday.

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