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Iran complying with nuclear deal’s key limits: UN nuclear agency

Iran’s increased stocks of key nuclear materials are still within the limits set by a 2015 deal it signed with major world powers, a quarterly report by the UN nuclear agency says.

The Friday report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which was sent to the agency’s member states, said Iran had stayed within caps on items including the level to which it enriches uranium and its stock of enriched uranium.

Despite an announcement from Iran earlier this month that it has suspended some of its commitments under the nuclear accord, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the country’s stocks of enriched uranium and heavy water did not exceed the ceilings set in the agreement, the report added.

According to the report, the IAEA verified on May 26 that following a halt in the production of heavy water at the Heavy Water Production Plant (HWPP) between April 15, 2019 and May 22, 2019, operation of the plant had resumed and that Iran’s stock of heavy water was 125.2 metric tonnes, an increase of 0.4 tonnes on February but still under the 130-tonne limit.

As of May 20, Iran had 174.1 kg of enriched uranium, up from 163.8 kg in February but again within the relevant limit, it added.

In May 2018, US President Donald Trump withdrew Washington from the JCPOA, reached in July 2015 between Iran and the P5+1 group of countries — the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China plus Germany — and decided to re-impose unilateral sanctions against Tehran.

Under the JCPOA, Iran undertook to put limits on its nuclear program in exchange for the removal of nuclear-related sanctions.

On the first anniversary of the US withdrawal from the nuclear deal, Iran announced that it would suspend the implementation of some of its commitments under the deal, announcing that it would stop exporting excess uranium and heavy water, setting a 60-day deadline for the five remaining parties to the deal to take practical measures towards ensuring its interests in the face of the American sanctions.

The spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, Behrouz Kamalvandi, said on May 20 that Iran had increased by fourfold the production rate of uranium enriched to 3.67 percent.

“This issue does not mean an increase in enrichment level or an increase in centrifuge machines or a change in the type of centrifuges, but the production capacity of these 3.67% enriched uranium will be quadrupled,” Kamalvandi said.

According to the JCPOA, 300 kilograms has been specified as the ceiling for production of 3.67% enriched uranium by Iran, which must be observed by the country for a period of 15 years.

The IAEA report also said the JCPOA allows Iran to use thousands of its first-generation IR-1 centrifuges but it restricts the number of more advanced models to single or double digits.

“Technical discussions in relation to the IR-6 centrifuges are ongoing,” the agency’s report said.

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