(Joe Klamar/AP)
Iran deal

The UN International Atomic Energy Agency claims Iran is now honoring all of its obligations under the nuclear deal signed last year. But is this true? And is the IAEA assessment really reliable?

Iran has corrected one violation of its controversial nuclear deal with six world powers and is honoring all other major obligations, the UN atomic energy agency reported Friday.

The UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is responsible for monitoring the agreement Iran signed last year with the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany that reduces and limits Tehran’s nuclear activities in exchange for sanctions relief.

In February, a month after the deal’s implementation, the agency noted that Iran had produced heavy water beyond its allotted limit of 143.3 tons (130 metric tons). Friday’s confidential assessment, obtained by The Associated Press, said Tehran was now below that amount.

Heavy water is a potential proliferation concern because it is used in reactors that produce substantial amounts of plutonium, a potential path to nuclear weapons. Some of the excess was exported in February to the US under an arrangement criticized by US congressional opponents who asserted it facilitated Iranian violations of the deal.

The US House of Representatives voted on Wednesday to bar the US government from purchasing more heavy water from Iran, but a similar amendment died in the Senate earlier in the year. Differences between the two houses have yet to be resolved but any ban is expected to be vetoed by President Barack Obama.

The deal also crimped and set long-term restrictions on uranium enrichment, a process that — like plutonium production — can be turned to make nuclear weapons. Iran was keeping to its commitments on that, the report said.

In one area of potential future concern, the report said Iran had served notice of plans to manufacture rotor tubes for centrifuges, machines used to enrich uranium, but is not yet doing so. Iran is allowed to make such parts, but there are limitations.

For the 5,060 standard centrifuges now producing limited amounts of fuel-grade enriched uranium, Tehran must use spare parts stripped from old and idle machines. Parts for more advanced centrifuges would fall under even tighter research and development regulations.

While the IAEA exposed one of Tehran’s violations of the deal, it remains to be determined if more such violations will be exposed.

By: AP and United with Israel Staff