UN nuclear watchdog: Iran maintains compliance with 2015 pact

UN nuclear watchdog: Iran maintains compliance with 2015 pact
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The United Nations’ nuclear watchdog confirmed Friday that Iran remained within key parameters set in the 2015 nuclear pact it signed with the U.S. and other world powers.

The news that Iran is respecting the nuclear limits, contained in a confidential report from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that was uncovered by Reuters, comes as the Trump administration has renewed U.S. sanctions on the country after deciding to withdraw from the deal last year. 

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Trump has repeatedly criticized the deal as a “disaster” since he began campaigning for president in 2015, saying it did not effectively deal with Iran’s ballistic missile program or support for armed groups in the Middle East.

He also claimed it would only delay Iran from attaining a nuclear weapon, rather than prevent it.

The IAEA certified that Iran was complying with the deal as recently as August. Tehran has maintained its nuclear program is solely for defensive purposes.

The White House reimposed stringent sanctions after its withdrawal from the deal in the hopes that Iran would come back to the negotiating table to work out a new one.

European signatories of the deal, including Germany, France and Britain, have sought to blunt the effects of those sanctions by improving trade relations with Iran, a decision that infuriated White House officials.

Vice President Pence broadsided European allies last week, calling for them to cut off trade with Tehran and pull out of the nuclear pact themselves.

"The time has come from our European partners to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal and join us as we bring the economic and diplomatic pressure necessary to give the Iranian people, the region and the world the peace, security and freedom they deserve,” he said at the Munich Security Conference.