Teheran (AsiaNews) – Iran is doing “without major problems” what “it promised” when it signed the nuclear deal in January, said a satisfied Yukiya Amano, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), in an interview with French daily Le Monde. This confirms what Israel reported in recent weeks, namely that Iran was upholding its end of the nuclear deal.
Interviewed on the sidelines of the 60th IAEA General Conference, which was held on 26-30 September in Vienna, Austria, headquarters of the agency, Yukiya Amano noted only "one small incident" so far that Iranian authorities "fixed right away".
"I can confirm that Tehran respects its commitments to the letter," said 69-year-old Japanese diplomat, by doing what "it promised to the international community."
After years of embargo, Iran won a partial easing of Western economic sanctions in exchange for an agreement on its controversial nuclear programme. By and large, the international community welcomed the deal with few exceptions, most notably Israel and the Republican-controlled US Congress.
The United States has kept a number of sanctions in place against Iran because of its ballistic missile programme, as well as its military support for Shia movements in the Middle East, like Lebanon’s Hezbollah, Syria’s regime, and Yemen’s Houthi “rebels”.
The IAEA chief strongly denies the risk of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East, as Saudi Arabia and Israel (the region’s only nuclear power) feared on the eve of the historic agreement. Despite rumours, nothing can "substantiate such speculations," he said.
The agreement over Tehran's nuclear energy is perhaps Yukiya Amano’s most important success. At present, he is vying for a third term when, in November 2017, his mandate comes to an end.
In any event, the Iranian nuclear deal “is not closed" because it "started only a few months ago". He is committed to the fullest to "ensure that the agreement is also implemented" in the future.
Meanwhile, if the Iranian nuclear threat now seems settled, concerns persist over North Korea, which has not allowed any direct access to its nuclear sites.
Pyongyang withdrew from the non-proliferation treaty and recently carried out two nuclear tests. This deplorable situation is a source of "great concern" for the IAEA chief.
For its part, the UN agency’s team of expert continues to "monitor the situation via" satellites.