UNITED NATIONS: The failure of a landmark 2015 agreement between Iran and world powers to restrict Tehran’s nuclear programme would represent a “great loss”, the head of the UN’s atomic watchdog has said in a press statement.

“As of today, I can state that Iran is implementing its nuclear-related commitments” under the deal, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director-General Yukiya Amano said in a speech opening a quarterly meeting of the IAEA’s board of governors.

US President Donald Trump has been a harsh critic of the agreement, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

“If the JCPOA were to fail, it would be a great loss for nuclear verification and for multilateralism,” Amano said in a speech to his agency’s 35-nation board of governors.

Amano, whose agency polices the deal’s nuclear restrictions, later gave his most wide-ranging defence of the accord to date, listing numbers of buildings inspected, images captured and even seals placed on equipment since the accord was put into effect.

“The IAEA now has the world’s most robust verification regime in place in Iran. We have had access to all locations that we needed to visit,” the veteran Japanese diplomat told a news conference after his speech.

Published in Dawn, March 7th, 2018