The head of Iran's atomic energy agency has warned his country's landmark nuclear deal with five world powers could be jeopardised by foot-dragging on a pledge of sanctions relief in exchange for Tehran's commitment to curb atomic activities. Ali Akbar Salehi said on Monday that "comprehensive and expeditious removal of all sanctions" outlined in the agreement "have yet to be met," even though his country is honouring all its obligations under the historic pact. But other Iranian officials have faulted the United States for delays in lifting financial sanctions. Salehi said the deal's "durability" depended on the other side's "reciprocal and full implementation". Iran complains that international financial sanctions are not being lifted quickly enough under the agreement that stipulates a removal of these and other penalties imposed over Tehran's nuclear programme, in exchange for its agreement to curb atomic pursuits that could be used to make a bomb.
WASHINGTON – A group that the White House recently identified as a key surrogate in promoting the Iran nuclear deal gave National Public Radio 100,000 last year to help it report on the pact and related issues, according to the group's annual report. It also funded reporters and partnerships with other news outlets. The Ploughshares Fund's mission is to "build a safe, secure world by developing and investing in initiatives to reduce and ultimately eliminate the world's nuclear stockpiles," one that dovetails with President Barack Obama's arms control efforts. But its behind-the-scenes role advocating for the Iran agreement got more attention this month following a candid profile of Ben Rhodes, one of the president's top foreign policy aides, in The New York Times Magazine. In the article, Rhodes explained how the administration worked with nongovernmental organizations, proliferation experts and reporters to build support for the seven-nation accord, which curtailed Iran's nuclear activity and softened international financial penalties on Tehran.
ANKARA – Iran has deployed the Russian-supplied S-300 surface-to-air missile defense system around its Fordow underground uranium enrichment facility, Iranian state media reported Monday. Iranian state TV on Sunday aired footage of deployment of the recently delivered missile system to the nuclear site in the central Iran. "Our main priority is to protect Iran's nuclear facilities under any circumstances," Brig. Gen. Farzad Esmaili, commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps' (IRGC) air defense force told state TV. Iran and the six major powers reached a landmark nuclear deal in 2015 aimed at curbing Iran's nuclear program in exchange for lifting nuclear-related sanctions imposed on Tehran over its disputed nuclear work.
The Iran nuclear accord is fragile at its one-year anniversary. Upcoming elections in the U.S. and Iran could yield new leaders determined to derail the deal. Iran's ballistic missiles are threatening American allies in the Arab world and Israel, raising pressure on the United States to respond with force.