Iran overstepped nuclear deal limit

Iran overstepped nuclear deal limitThe U.N. nuclear watchdog urged Iran to stop repeatedly overstepping a limit on its stock of a sensitive material set by its landmark deal with major powers, Reuters reported on Thursday.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which is policing the deal, said in a report last week that Iran had slightly exceeded the 130-tonne soft limit on its stock of heavy water for a second time since the deal was put in place in January.

Officials from the six other countries that signed the deal have expressed frustration over the breach and said the limit should be seen as firm.

Iran's overstepping of the 130-tonne threshold also raises questions about how U.S. President-elect Donald Trump would handle any similar case once he takes office. Trump used to strongly criticize the deal and said he will "police that contract so tough they (the Iranians) don't have a chance."

"It is important that such situations should be avoided in future in order to maintain international confidence in the implementation of the JCPOA," IAEA chief Yukiya Amano said in the text of a speech to his agency's Board of Governors, using the acronym for the deal's full name, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

Last week's report said Amano had expressed "concerns" to Iran over its stock of heavy water, a material used as a moderator in reactors like Iran's unfinished one at Arak, which had its core removed and made unusable under the deal.

The agreement places restrictions on Iran's atomic activities - monitored by the IAEA - in exchange for the lifting of international sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

"Iran has ... made preparations to transfer a quantity of heavy water out of the country," Amano said, without saying when the transfer would take place.

"Once it has been transferred, Iran's stock of heavy water will be below 130 metric tonnes,"
he added.
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