Iran to unveil details on cuts to N-deal pledges tomorrow - GulfToday

Iran to unveil details on cuts to N-deal pledges tomorrow

Iranian-women

Women sit at the bus station in Valiasr street in Tehran on Thursday. Reuters

Iran is set to detail its latest cut to commitments under a 2015 nuclear deal on Saturday, in response to US sanctions and perceived inaction by other parties to save the accord.

Iran’s atomic energy organisation spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi will hold a news conference to detail Tehran’s third round of cuts in its nuclear commitments since May, the semi-official ISNA news agency reported on Thursday.

Iran and three European countries − Britain, France and Germany − have been engaged in talks to reduce tensions and rescue the multi-party deal, which has been unravelling since the US withdrew in May last year.

But with no apparent agreement in sight, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani on Wednesday made good on a promise to take another step away from the deal between Iran and the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council powers, plus Germany (P5+1).

“The atomic energy organisation (of Iran) is ordered to immediately start whatever is needed in the field of research and development, and abandon all the commitments that were in place regarding research and development,” said Rouhani, without elaborating.

Iran’s arch-enemy Israel responded by calling for more international pressure on Iran.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urged world powers on Thursday not to open a dialogue with Iran, after US President Donald Trump said he may meet his Iranian counterpart to resolve a crisis over Tehran’s nuclear project and sanctions against it.

“This is not the time to hold talks with Iran. This is the time to increase the pressure on Iran,” Netanyahu told reporters en route to London, where he was hosted by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and was later scheduled to confer with US Defence Secretary Mark Esper.

Netanyahu’s comments marked rare public discord between the right-wing Israeli leader and Trump on the Iranian nuclear issue. Netanyahu had previously counselled France against its own outreach to Iran.

The EU on Thursday urged Iran to backtrack on moves to drop its commitments under the deal, known as the JCPOA.

“These activities we consider are inconsistent with the JCPOA,” said European Commission spokesman Carlos Martin Ruiz de Gordejuela.

“We urge Iran to reverse these steps and refrain from further measures that undermine the nuclear deal.”

France’s foreign ministry on Thursday called on Iran to refrain from any concrete action that does not comply with its 2015 nuclear deal obligations after Tehran said it would develop centrifuges for faster uranium enrichment.

“Iran must refrain from any concrete action that is not in line with its commitments and that may hinder de-escalation efforts,” Foreign ministry spokeswoman Agnes von der Muhll told reporters in a daily online briefing.

She added that Paris would study the Iranian announcement with its partners and the UN atomic agency.

A senior US official on Wednesday ruled out any sanctions exemptions that would permit a French-proposed credit line, which Tehran says could bring it back to full compliance with the deal.

“We can’t make it any more clear that we are committed to this campaign of maximum pressure and we are not looking to grant any exceptions or waivers,” Brian Hook, the State Department coordinator on Iran, told reporters.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif responded by tweeting that the US Treasury was “nothing more than a JAIL WARDEN.”

“Ask for reprieve (waiver), get thrown in solitary for the audacity. Ask again and you might end up in the gallows,” he tweeted.

Iran has expressed mounting frustration at Europe’s failure to offset the effects of renewed US sanctions in return for its continued compliance with the agreement.

It had already hit back twice with countermeasures in response to the US withdrawal from the deal.

On July 1, Iran said it had increased its stockpile of enriched uranium to beyond the 300-kilogramme limit set by the agreement.

A week later, it announced it had exceeded the deal’s uranium enrichment limit of 3.67 per cent.

The UN’s nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, said on August 30 that Iran’s uranium stockpile stood at about 360 kilogrammes, of which just over 10 per cent was enriched to 4.5 per cent.

Agencies

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