Middle East

Watchdog says Iran in compliance with 2015 nuclear deal

The Bushehr nuclear power plant in Iran. Source: AAP

Iran continues to stay within the limitations set by a nuclear deal reached with major powers in 2015, the UN atomic watchdog has said.

The UN atomic watchdog says Iran continues to stay within the limitations set by the nuclear deal reached in 2015 with major powers, though its stockpiles of low-enriched uranium and heavy water are growing.

In a confidential quarterly report distributed to member states, the International Atomic Energy Agency said Iran has stayed within key limitations set in the so-called Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA.

The deal is meant to keep Tehran from building atomic weapons in exchange for economic incentives.

It has been complicated by the unilateral withdrawal of the US last year and Washington's increased sanctions, which has been taking a toll on the Iranian economy.

That has left the other signatories - Germany, Britain, France, Russia and China - struggling to come up with enough incentives to keep Iran in the deal.

Earlier this month, Iran announced that if a way couldn't be found within 60 days to shield it from US sanctions targeting its economy and oil industry, it would increase its enrichment of uranium beyond the purity allowed under the JCPOA.

And about a week ago, Iran said it had increased its uranium-enrichment production capacity, though only of the lower-enriched uranium permitted by the agreement.

In its first quarterly report since those announcements, however, the Vienna-based IAEA found Iran continued to be in compliance with the JCPOA and also said its inspectors had been given unfettered access to Iranian nuclear facilities.

The IAEA said Iran's heavy water stockpile was 125.2 tonnes as of 26 May, up from 124.8 tonnes in February but below the 130-tonne limit.

Its stock of low-enriched uranium was 174.1 kilograms as of 20 May, up from 163.8kg in February; the limit is 202.8kg.

It added that Iran had not enriched any uranium above the level allowed by the JCPOA.

"All centrifuges and associated infrastructure in storage have remained under continuous agency monitoring," the IAEA said.

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