Tag Archives: Nuclear Deal

European sides showed inability to guarantee Iran’s interests: Russia

Russian Foreign Ministry’s spokesperson Maria Zakharova made the remarks in an interview with Vestnik Kavkaza on Saturday.

She maintained that Iran’s exit from the nuclear deal would be an undesired outcome after the diplomatic work carried out in 2013-2015, saying that “the collapse of the agreement is an extremely undesirable option.”

“Unfortunately, there was a unilateral, illegitimate withdrawal from the deal by the US,” she added, noting that the JCPOA was adopted by the UN Security Council, with an officially approved exit procedure, which was not respected.

“European partners, in turn, showed an inability to guarantee the conditions proposed to Iran,” Zakharova added.

The Russian ministry spokesperson lamented the consequences of the US and European sides’ “irresponsible” and “without real results” policy, voicing doubt that the same level of negotiations that took about four years to reach results, could repeat.

She maintained that the issue of trust in the agreement has been undermined, adding “if the result achieved through negotiations is destroyed once, who will agree to play by the same rules once again, if they are not respected?”

One year after the US’ unilateral withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal, and in the absence of any practical measures from the European sides to the deal to safeguard Iran’s economic interests against US sanctions, Iran announced in May 2019 that it is reducing commitments to JCPOA in a transparent manner and according to Paragraphs 26 and 36 of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in a bid to “create balance between the country’s rights and commitments to the JCPOA.” 

Tehran announced the start of the fourth step in reducing commitments on Nov. 5, stressing however that all measures will be taken under the supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency and are reversible the moment the other sides to the agreement begin to live up to their commitments.


Iran to launch an array of 30 advanced centrifuges, head of nuclear body says

Tehran is to launch an array of 30 advanced centrifuges, the head of Iran’s nuclear body told state TV on Monday.


EU to leave JCPOA if Trump wins second term: analyst

Speaking to Mehr correspondent on Monday, Momeni said the European sides to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal (JCPOA), namely the UK, France, Germany and the EU, are only biding their time to see what happens in the future.

“The Europeans are waiting for the result of the US 2020 election in order to base their final decision on it. I am fully confident that if Donald Trump wins a second term, EU will leave the nuclear deal,” he said.

Trump withdrew the US from the JCPOA in May 2018 and re-imposed sanctions on Iran which had been lifted under the agreement. The remaining sides to the deal – UK, France, China, Russia plus Germany and the EU – have been trying to persuade Iran to stay in the deal by offering an alternative trade mechanism, and most recently, a $15 billion credit line.

Momeni said, however, that both proposals have not become operational yet, and neither of them seem to be of much use to Iran, anyway.

“Europeans have not taken any tangible and positive measures to safeguard Iran’s interests under the JCPOA. It seems like they are only seeking for an excuse to put the blame on Iran for failing to live up to its commitments,” he added.

“From what we have seen so far, I doubt the European sides would do anything useful in the third 60-day deadline Iran has given them,” he said, referring to Iran’s step-by-step cuts to its commitments to the JCPOA as a countermeasure to US’ withdrawal and EU’s continued failure to shield Iran from US sanctions.


Iran says entitled to suspend commitments to nuke deal

Iranian officials said Sunday that Iran is entitled to suspend parts of its commitments to the 2015 multilateral nuclear deal when its interests are not honored by the parties of the accord, official IRNA news agency reported.

The steps taken by Iran to reduce its commitments under the deal are “legitimate” and are allowed under the agreement, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Sunday.

Iran’s drop of parts of the deal’s provisions is a “response to the Europeans’ failure” to fulfill their promises to preserve Iran’s interests in the face of U.S. withdrawal from the agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Zarif said.

He made the remarks in a meeting with the visiting acting Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Cornel Feruta in Tehran on Sunday.

All Iran’s recent measures pertaining to the JCPOA are enshrined by the Article 36 of the accord, he stressed.

Zarif hailed the cooperation between Iran and the IAEA and urged the UN nuclear watchdog “to observe the principles of professionalism, confidentiality, and impartiality in fulfilling its duties regarding Iran.”

For his part, Feruta said the IAEA has been working to build more trust and would carry out its verification activities in a professional and impartial manner, according to Press TV.

Earlier on the day, Feruta held talks with Ali Akbar Salehi, head of Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, on transparency of Iranian nuclear program and the IAEA monitoring tasks with the Iranian nuclear sites.

Salehi criticized the European signatories of the 2015 agreement for what he called their “failure to honor their legal nuclear commitments” vis-a-vis Iran.

He said that the European Union was supposed to “fill the vacuum” created by the U.S. withdrawal last year from the Iranian deal, but unfortunately it has failed to keep that promise.

The deal “is no one-way street; it was supposed to be a two-way path,” he was quoted as saying by Press TV.

Iran’s countermeasures are “due decisions” made “in due time,” Salehi added.

Feruta’s visit to Tehran follows Iran’s suspension of parts of its commitments to the 2015 deal. It also comes before a quarterly meeting of the IAEA’s 35-country Board of Governors in Vienna on Monday.

Iran’s Ambassador to the IAEA Kazem Gharib Abadi said that Feruta’s meetings are part of the ongoing cooperation between Iran and the UN nuclear watchdog.

On Saturday, Iran officially announced a move to withdraw from part of its commitments to the JCPOA.

Following the announcement, Iran started up advanced centrifuges and activated 20 IR-4 centrifuges and 20 IR-6 centrifuges to boost the country’s stockpile of enriched uranium.

Iran had already made two other moves to scale back its obligations to the deal to build stockpiles of nuclear fuel and enrich low-grade uranium to a higher level of purity.

Iran’s steps to suspend the compliance with some provisions of the accord are retaliatory reactions to U.S. President Donald Trump’s move in May 2018 which pulled Washington out of the Iranian deal and re-imposed sanctions on Iran.\


Rouhani: Iran Will Develop Faster Uranium Enrichment Centrifuges

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Thursday ordered his country’s nuclear industry to develop faster uranium enrichment technology, marking another major breach of the 2015 nuclear deal.

“From Friday we will witness research and development on different kinds of centrifuges and new centrifuges and also whatever is needed for enriching uranium in an accelerated way. All limitations on our research and development will be lifted on Friday,” Rouhani declared in a televised address.

Rouhani hinted the Europeans, who have been trying to keep the nuclear deal alive after U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew in May 2018, might be able to offer incentives that would dissuade Iran from taking these steps. 

Iran’s original deadline compliance with its demands was this week, but Rouhani said Europe would be given “another two months to fulfill its commitment,” by which he meant protecting Iran from the effects of U.S. sanctions. 

The Iranians are evidently unsatisfied with French proposals to grant Tehran a $15 billion credit for oil sales and were angered by new U.S. sanctions designed to choke off a terrorist-funded network for illegal oil sales in Syria. Washington indicated disapproval of the French oil credit proposal, with U.S. special representative Brian Hook warning, “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.”

Rouhani insisted Iran’s accelerated uranium enrichment will be “peaceful, under surveillance by the U.N. nuclear watchdog, and reversible.” The enhanced enrichment Rouhani hinted at would be unnecessary for civilian nuclear power, but it would shorten Iran’s “breakout time” for developing nuclear bombs.

Iran’s atomic energy agency said it would follow up on Rouhani’s announcement with details on Saturday. 


UK, France react to Iran’s statement on nuclear deal

France and the U.K. on Thursday criticized Iran’s recently announced intention to further reduce its level of compliance with the nuclear deal of 2015.

Iran’s plan to suspend limits on nuclear research and development is “deeply concerning”, said a statement by the U.K.’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

“This third step away from its commitments under the nuclear deal is particularly disappointing at a time when we and our European and international partners are working hard to de-escalate tensions with Iran,” the statement added.

In a separate statement, French Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Agnes von der Muhll said that Iran “should refrain from taking concrete actions that will not comply with its commitments and may harm efforts to de-escalate tension”.

Muhll said that they will discuss Iran’s recent announcement with partners and International Atomic Energy Agency.

On Wednesday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said that his country would soon take a third step in reducing its commitments under the nuclear deal.

The nuclear deal agreed on by Iran, China, France, Germany, Russia, the U.K., the U.S. and the EU gave Tehran relief from sanctions in exchange of limiting its nuclear program.

Iran now insists that Europe must provide it additional economic support if they want to save the deal, after U.S. withdrew in May 2018 and slammed sanctions on Tehran.


Iran Says to Return to Nuclear Deal Only Under Oil Credit Line

A senior Iranian foreign ministry official confirmed on Wednesday that Tehran would return to its nuclear deal commitment only if it got $15 billion for oil sales over four months, as stipulated in a draft French plan to salvage the accord.

France has proposed offering Iran about $15 billion in credit lines until year-end if Tehran comes fully back into compliance with its 2015 nuclear deal, a move that hinges on Washington not blocking it.

“Our return to the full implementation of the nuclear accord is subject to the receipt of $15 billion over a four-month period, otherwise the process of reducing Iran’s commitments will continue,” Fars news agency quoted Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi as saying.

“Either Europe has to buy oil from Iran or provide Iran with the equivalent of selling oil as a credit line guaranteed by Iran’s oil revenues, which in some sense means a pre-sale of oil,” Araqchi added.

Iran’s vital oil sales have plummeted since the United States withdrew from the nuclear deal last year and reimposed sanctions on Tehran.

But Araqchi said there were still “serious disagreements on the agenda” of any future talks between Iran and its nuclear deal partners.


Iran says will return to nuclear deal if it receives $15bn within months

Iran’s deputy foreign minister has said the country will return to its nuclear deal commitments if it receives $15 billion in oil sales over a four months period.

Seyed Abbas Araghchi travelled to Paris on Monday for talks with French officials about an economic plan to salvage the nuclear deal.

France has proposed offering Iran about $15 billion in credit lines until year-end if Tehran comes fully back into compliance with its 2015 nuclear deal, a move that hinges on Washington not blocking it.

“Our return to the full implementation of the nuclear accord is subject to the receipt of $15 billion over a four-month period, otherwise the process of reducing Iran’s commitments will continue,” he said.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran, as it has repeatedly stated, will only return to full implementation if it is able to sell its oil and its access and income in a fully usable manner.”

US President Donald Trump left the landmark 2015 nuclear deal signed with world powers last year, imposing two rounds of sanctions to launch his “maximum pressure” campaign against the regime.


UN atomic watchdog: Iran further exceeds nuclear-deal limits

Iran is still exceeding limitations set by its nuclear deal with world powers, increasing its stock of enriched uranium and refining it to a greater purity than allowed in the 2015 agreement, according to the United Nations atomic watchdog.

The quarterly report from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on Friday confirmed Iran was progressively backing out of the pact in retaliation for the United States‘ unitaleral withdrawal from the accord last year and the subsequent renewal of sanctions that have hit Iranian oil sales.

The 2015 nuclear deal – also signed by France, Germany, Britain, China and Russia – had lifted many international sanctions on Iran in exchange for limits on its nuclear programme, which was opened to IAEA monitoring.

Iran has said it will keep exceeding the deal’s limits on its nuclear activities one by one, ratcheting up pressure on parties who still hope to save it, especially the European signatories, as it seeks economic incentives to stay in the agreement after Washington’s withdrawal in May 2018.

Since then, the administration of US President Donald Trump – a vocal critic of 2015 pact negotiated under predecessor Barack Obama – has implemented a “maximum pressure” campaign to force Iran back on the negotiating table on a broader deal, but Tehran insists it must first get relief from the US sanctions strangling its economy.

The Europeans hope that the possibility, however slight, of a high-level meeting between Trump and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani might help keep Iran in the deal.

In July, the IAEA said Iran exceeded both a 202.8kg limit on its enriched uranium stock and its 3.67 percent cap on the fissile purity to which it is allowed to refine uranium.

In a verbal update on July 10, the IAEA said Iran was enriching uranium to 4.5 percent purity and had stockpiled 213.5kg of enriched uranium. 

Friday’s quarterly report to member states said Iran has accumulated 241.6kg of enriched uranium and is enriching at about the same level as before, up to 4.5 percent.

Iran’s enriched uranium stock is still a fraction of the tonnes it possessed before the deal. Its enrichment level is also well short of the 20 percent it reached before the deal and the roughly 90 percent that is considered weapons-grade.

Its recent moves, therefore, have not yet made much difference to the time it would need to obtain enough fissile material for a nuclear bomb if it sought one.

Iran has threatened to take further steps by September 6, such as enriching to 20 percent or restarting mothballed centrifuges, machines that enrich uranium.

Crumbling deal 

The US’ withdrawa from the deal and its reimposition of sanctions towards Iran has left the other signatories struggling to come up with enough incentives to keep Iran in the deal. 

So far, they have expressed concern about Tehran’s moves and urged it to return to the limitations set in the agreement but have not taken further action.

Britain, France and Germany have set up a complex barter-type system dubbed INSTEX that aims to protect companies doing business with Iran from US sanctions.

The first transactions through this system are being “processed,” but have not yet been completed, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said Friday. 

Iranian officials have called INSTEX insufficient as it only allows trade for humanitarian activities that are not even covered by US secondary sanctions. Instead, they want the workaround mechanism to cover the key oil trade hit by Washington’s sanctions.

Under the weight of those sanctions, the value of Iran’s currency has plummeted by about 60 percent in the last year.

Inflation is up 37 percent and the cost of food and medicine has soared 40 percent to 60 percent, according to EU figures.


Iran test fires new missile, says Revolutionary Guards commander

Iran has test fired a new missile, the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has said, according to the country’s Tasnim news agency.

“Our country is always the arena for testing a variety of defence and strategic systems and these are non-stop movements towards the growth of our deterrent power,” Major General Hossein Salami said on Saturday.

“And yesterday was one of the successful days for this nation,” he said, without providing more information about the missile.

On Thursday, Iran displayed what it described as a domestically built long-range, surface-to-air missile air defence system.

Last year, US President Donald Trump pulled out of an international agreement on Iran’s nuclear programme and stepped up sanctions on Tehran in order to curb its development of ballistic missiles and its support for proxies in Syria, Yemen, Lebanon and Iraq.

The two countries have been exchanging threats and warnings since then.

Iran shot down a US military surveillance drone in the Gulf with a surface-to-air missile in June, nearly setting off a conflict with the United States.

The Islamic Republic says the drone was over its territory, but Washington claims it was in the international airspace.

Regional tensions escalated in May, when the US and its allies – Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates – accused Iran of sabotaging tankers in the Strait of Hormuz, allegations denied by Iran.

The UK’s Ministry of Defence announced this month that Royal Navy vessels will work alongside the US Navy to escort vessels through the busy strait.

Britain has been giving UK-flagged vessels a naval escort since the IRGC seized a British oil tanker last month. The move followed the seizing of an Iranian oil tanker off the coast of Gibraltar in July.

The British Royal Marines seized the ship on July on suspicion it was shipping oil to Syria in violation of European Union sanctions. Iran had denied the tanker was ever headed to Syria.