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Energy

Amid threats, Iran complies with nuclear deal, says UN watchdog

The IAEA has issued a report showing Iran has stayed within limits set in the 2015 nuclear deal. But after US President Trump pulled the US out of the Paris accord, analysts have warned the nuclear deal could be next.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said in a report shown Friday that Iran has continued to follow rules set out in a 2015 deal that curbed its nuclear program in exchange for the international community lifting sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

Iran's stock of low-enriched uranium was 79.8 kilograms (175.5 pounds) as of May 27, far below the deal's limit of 202.8 kilograms, the agency said in its quarterly report. It added that a 3.67 percent cap on the level of enrichment had not been exceeded.

The agency noted that Iran "has not pursued the construction of the Arak reactor," a site that could develop weapons-grade plutonium.

Years in the making, the nuclear deal of 2015 marked a major diplomatic victory for Germany, China, France, Russia, the UK and the USA, which sought to limit Tehran's ability to develop a nuclear weapon.

However, since the agreement went into force in January 2016, the administration has changed in Washington. While still on the campaign trail, now US President Donald Trump had described the nuclear deal as "disastrous," and vowed to "dismantle" it. Since taking office, however, his administration extended sanctions relief called for under the 2015 deal.

From Paris accord to nuclear deal?

Fresh off of withdrawing the US from the Paris climate accord, Trump may seek to upend another international agreement, analysts have warned.

Read more: World reacts to US withdrawal from Paris agreement

Colin Kahl, national security advisor to former US Vice President Joe Biden, said Trump could be "tempted" to escalate tensions with Iran in a bid to divert attention from political scandals at home.

"Even as we wring our hands over what Trump did on Paris and even as we turn our attention back to the Russia probe, don't forget the looming crisis with Iran," Kahl said. "The nuclear deal would not survive a major clash, leaving Iran unconstrained to pursue a nuke."

Watch video 02:28

Nuclear deal: Iranians yet to feel benefits

ls/sms (AFP, Reuters, AP)

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