Iran thrown a nuclear-medicine lifeline ahead of Vienna meeting

Bloomberg | : The world’s atomic watchdog said it’s ready to meet shortages of nuclear medicines in Iran created by the re-imposition of U.S. sanctions, as top diplomats gather to salvage a 2015 deal with Tehran.

The International Atomic Energy Agency is “willing to help” meet Iran’s nuclear therapy and medicine needs, Director General Yukiya Amano told reporters Monday in Vienna. The Islamic Republic has struggled to obtain some humanitarian goods as suppliers worry over contravening U.S. penalties, prompting Switzerland and the European Union to open new trade channels.

IAEA inspectors have repeatedly confirmed that Iran’s sticking to the landmark deal signed three years ago, which capped nuclear activities for sanctions relief. President Donald Trump’s decision to abandon the accord in May forced the remaining powers — China, France, Germany, Russia and the U.K. — to take new measures to ensure its survival. Their so-called Joint Commission convenes Wednesday in the Austrian capital.

In addition to its monitoring activities, the IAEA helps countries around the world to develop medicine used for the diagnosis and treatment of cancer.

Leading up to this week’s meeting, American officials had been ratcheting up pressure by threatening new sanctions and advocating for more aggressive inspections. Countries providing technical cooperation to Iran under IAEA auspices were warned they could run afoul of U.S. sanctions. Washington’s efforts, however, have struggled to gain traction among international officials.

“Iran is implementing its nuclear-related commitments,” Amano said. “The agency continues to verify the non-diversion of nuclear material.”