Photographer: Joe Klamar/AFP via Getty Images

U.S., IAEA Caution Iran for Breaching Terms of Nuclear Agreement

  • Iran’s heavy-water stockpile exceeded limit set in July 2015
  • IAEA chief Amano says ‘aware’ of Trump’s criticism of deal

The U.S. and the International Atomic Energy Agency cautioned Iran for breaching limits to its heavy-water stockpile set out in last year’s nuclear deal with world powers.

“Iran must strictly adhere to all commitments and technical measures,” IAEA envoy Laura Holgate said in a statement on Thursday. “We note with concern Iran’s accumulation of heavy water in excess of the limit.”

Iran agreed in July 2015 was to limit its stockpile of heavy water, a non-radioactive material used in reactors and medical imaging, to 130 metric tons -- the amount deemed by signatories to the deal to be consistent with its needs. The IAEA said this month that the country’s stock rose to 130.1 metric tons, and Iran said it planned to sell part of its supply.

“Simply notifying states that this heavy water is for sale without removing it from Iran does not fulfill” its commitment, Holgate said.

The rules breach has gained added significance after Donald Trump’s election victory. While President Barack Obama has credited the deal -- which curbs Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief -- with averting a war, Trump has said his top foreign policy priority was to dismantle it.

Inspectors are “working in a very important political environment,” IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano said earlier on Thursday in a press briefing. While the agency was “aware” of Trump’s comments, Amano said he wasn’t concerned that data from the report would be distorted by the president-elect.

Iran must “maintain international confidence” by keeping below the threshold laid out in the agreement, he said.

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