Russia says Iran nuclear deal cannot be saved without US

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov arrives for a news conference at United Nations headquarters on Friday. (AP)
Updated 19 January 2018
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Russia says Iran nuclear deal cannot be saved without US

UNITED NATIONS: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Friday ruled out the possibility of salvaging the Iranian nuclear deal if President Donald Trump decides to pull the US out of the agreement.
“This agreement cannot be implemented if one of the participants unilaterally steps out of it,” Lavrov told a news conference at the UN.
“It will fall apart and there will be no deal then,” he said, adding: “I think everyone understands that.”
Trump last week agreed to again waive US nuclear-related sanctions on Iran, but demanded that US lawmakers and European allies fix the “disastrous flaws” in the deal or face a US exit.
“This is a decisive moment,” Lavrov said.
Russia and the US are among the six world powers that signed the 2015 landmark deal with Iran that aims to curb Tehran’s nuclear program in exchange for lifting sanctions.
Lavrov made clear that there would be no attempt by Russia to salvage it with the five remaining powers, if the US pulls out.
Russia will make every effort to persuade the United States “not to touch this thing,” said Lavrov, saying that the deal was “not dead yet.”
The foreign minister again made the argument that killing off the Iran nuclear deal would also compromise any bid to persuade North Korea to scrap its nuclear arsenal.
If the Iranian nuclear deal is not upheld, “how can we ask North Korea to use the same option” and abandon its nuclear ambitions, asked Lavrov.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told the Security Council this week that it was in the world’s interest that the nuclear agreement “be preserved.”
Meanwhile, Lavrov also said that the US decision to withhold funds for a UN agency that assists Palestinians would seriously undermine efforts to meet the needs of refugees.
“This decision ... undermines in a serious way the efforts to satisfy the needs of Palestinian refugees in the region,” Lavrov said through a translator. “We’ll consult all stakeholders and we’ll see what we can do.”
The United States said this week it had decided to pay the UN Relief and Works Agency $60 million but was putting a hold on another $65 million it had been expected to offer. The US State Department also said it would not provide an additional $45 million in food aid it had pledged for Palestinians.


No indication North Korea nuclear activities stopped: UN watchdog

Updated 21 August 2018
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No indication North Korea nuclear activities stopped: UN watchdog

  • ‘The continuation and further development of the DPRK’s nuclear program and related statements by the DPRK are a cause for grave concern’
  • The watchdog has stepped up monitoring through open source information and satellite imagery

VIENNA: The UN’s nuclear watchdog said it had not seen any indication that nuclear activities in North Korea have stopped despite its pledges to denuclearize.
“The continuation and further development of the DPRK’s nuclear program and related statements by the DPRK are a cause for grave concern,” said a report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), referring to North Korea’s official name.
The report, published late Monday, by the director general of Yukiya Amano is to be submitted to an IAEA board meeting in September.
In 2009 Pyongyang expelled IAEA inspectors from its Yongbyon nuclear site and has since refused to allow IAEA inspections on its territory.
The watchdog has stepped up monitoring through open source information and satellite imagery, it said.
“As the Agency remains unable to carry out verification activities in the DPRK, its knowledge of the DPRK’s nuclear program is limited and, as further nuclear activities take place in the country, this knowledge is declining,” it said.
Between late-April and early-May, there were indications of the operation of the steam plant that serves the radiochemical laboratory at the Yongbyon site, according to the report.
However, the duration of the steam plant’s operation was not sufficient to have supported the reprocessing of a complete core from the experimental nuclear power plant reactor, it added.
North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un and US President Donald Trump held a groundbreaking summit in Singapore in June.
At the meeting the pair struck a vague agreement to denuclearize the Korean peninsula, but there has been little movement since.
Before this, Kim met South Korean President Moon Jae-in in April for their first summit. They agreed to push for a declaration of an end to the Korean War this year.