Tehran respects nuclear agreements, says IAEA, but for Trump, it remains a threat

Yukiya Amano urges Iranian leaders to continue working with the UN agency. "It is essential that Iran continues to fully implement those commitments,” says IAEA chief. White House and intelligence agencies clash over Iran’s nuclear programme. For intelligence chiefs, Tehran is living up to its commitment, but for the president they are "naive".

Tehran (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Tehran “is implementing its nuclear-related commitments under the” Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), this according to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief Yukiya Amano. “It is essential that Iran continues to fully implement those commitments,” he noted. The IAEA reports to the United Nations.

The JCPOA deal was signed in 2015, but the United States pulled out in May 2018 despite the opposition of the international community. US President Donald Trump followed the withdrawal by imposing the toughest sanctions in history against Iran.

The decision has negatively impacted the Iranian economy as noted by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Oil exports have dropped considerably, which was the goal of the second round of sanctions that came into effect on 4 November.

Iran responded by threatening to resume its uranium enrichment programme, which it claims is for civilian purposes. Mr Amano urges Iranian leaders to maintain the current policy and to continue to work with IAEA.

In Washington, Iran pitted the US President Trump against the heads of US intelligence agencies. On twitter, the US leader called the latter "naive" and should “go back to school”.

The controversy was sparked by the latest intelligence report, which note that Iran is living up to its commitments. In fact, CIA director Gina Haspel told a Senate hearing that Iran was "technically... in compliance" with the nuclear deal.

By contrast, the intelligence report notes that North Korea represented a greater threat than Iran, as North Korea remained "unlikely to give up" its weapons stockpiles and production abilities.

Reacting to the intelligence chiefs, Mr Trump tweeted, "Be careful of Iran. Perhaps Intelligence should go back to school!", warning that Tehran “was making trouble all over the Middle East, and beyond" and was "a source of potential danger and conflict".

On the last point, the intelligence report does warn that Iran's "regional ambitions and improved military capabilities" would probably threaten US interests in the future.