Fri, Sep 06, 2019 - Page 1 News List

Iran to provide details of nuclear move tomorrow


Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, right, listens to Atomic Energy Organization of Iran head Ali Akbar Salehi in Tehran on April 9.

Photo: AFP / Iranian Presidential Office

Iran is tomorrow to announce details of a new cut to its commitments under a 2015 nuclear deal in response to sweeping US sanctions, the Iranian Students’ News Agency reported yesterday.

Atomic Energy Organization of Iran spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi is to hold a news conference to set out the details of Iran’s third cut to its nuclear commitments since May, it said.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Wednesday said that the steps included abandoning all limits set by the 2015 deal to Iran’s nuclear research and development.

He spoke of “expansions in the field of research and development, centrifuges, different types of new centrifuges and whatever we need for enrichment,” but did not elaborate.

Iran and three European countries — Britain, France and Germany — have been engaged in talks to try to save the nuclear deal that has been unraveling since US President Donald Trump withdrew from it in May last year and unilaterally reimposed sanctions.

Rouhani earlier on Wednesday told a Cabinet meeting: “I don’t think that ... we will reach a deal.”

However, he had also said that Tehran and the European powers had been getting closer to an agreement.

“If we had 20 issues of disagreement with the Europeans in the past, today there are three issues,” he said.

Iran has expressed mounting frustration at Europe’s failure to offset the effect 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 that it had increased its stockpile of enriched uranium to beyond the 300kg maximum set by the agreement. A week later, it announced it had exceeded a 3.67 percent cap on the purity of its uranium stocks.

The UN International Atomic Energy Agency on Friday last week said that Iran’s uranium stockpile stood at about 360kg and that just more than 10 percent of it was enriched to 4.5 percent.

Rouhani has stressed that the countermeasures are all readily reversible if the remaining parties to the deal honor their undertakings to provide sanctions relief.

A senior US official on Wednesday ruled out any exemptions from Iran sanctions to 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,” US Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook told reporters.

On Wednesday, the US issued its third set of sanctions on Iran in less than a week.

In the latest salvo, the US Department of the Treasury blacklisted a shipping network of 16 entities, 10 people and 11 vessels that it said was selling oil on behalf of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards’ Qods Force.

The network sold more than US$500 million of oil this spring, mostly to Syria, benefiting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and militant Lebanese allies Hezbollah, the department said.

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