The UN atomic watchdog has said Iran is still in violation of limitations set by the 2015 nuclear deal with major powers. Iran’s stockpile of low-enriched uranium still exceeds the amount allowed by the so-called Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action the International Atomic Energy Agency said. It said Iran continues to enrich uranium to 4.5 per cent, above the 3.67 per cent allowed. The IAEA says Iran has continued to permit its inspectors to monitor its nuclear facilities.
Last year, US President Donald Trump pulled the US out of an international accord designed to curb Iran’s nuclear program and has reimposed sanctions on Iran in an effort to force it to renegotiate the agreement.
Tensions soared in the Gulf in June and July amid attacks on oil tankers, Iran’s downing of an unmanned US surveillance drone and after the US said it had downed an Iranian drone. Trump has said the attack against the US drone prompted him to order a military strike in response, only to call it off at the last minute.
The EU's diplomatic chief said Thursday that the bloc would support talks between the US and Tehran, but only if the current nuclear deal with Iran is preserved. Tehran and Washington have been locked in a bitter standoff since last year when US President Donald Trump unilaterally pulled out of the 2015 deal that gave Iran relief from sanctions in return for curbs on its atomic programme.
The idea of direct talks between Washington and Tehran as a way out of the crisis has grown this week after Trump mooted the idea and the new US defense secretary urged Iran's leaders to engage. The EU has desperately sought to stop the deal from collapsing completely, arguing it is the best way to stop Iran developing nuclear bombs.
EU diplomatic chief Federica Mogherini gave a cautious welcome to the idea of negotiations, after Trump said Monday, he was ready to meet Iran's President Hassan Rouhani within weeks. "We are always in favour of talks, the more people talk, the more people understand each other the better, on the basis of clarity and on the basis of respect," Mogherini said as she arrived for a meeting of EU foreign and defence ministers in Helsinki.