Scaling back nuclear deal commitments was ‘minimal response’ after US left it – Iran

19 Jun, 2019

The boosting of uranium production by Iran was the least that could be done in response to the US leaving the Iran nuclear deal, and the 60-day deadline for EU to negotiate the lifting of American sanctions is final, Tehran says.

Reducing obligations under the 2015 agreement between the world powers and Tehran (known as the JCPOA) was a “minimal response” after the US unilaterally abandoned the agreement a year ago, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani claimed.

On May 8, Iran warned the EU, another signatory of the agreement, that it will partially suspend implementation of the nuclear deal unless the Europeans can negotiate the lifting of US sanctions on Tehran. Iranians gave the parties 60 days to do this.

Tehran had announced plans to boost uranium production beyond 300kg by June 27, which is more than allowed under the JCPOA. Rouhani argued that the move was “in accordance with international law.” He pointed to the provisions of the deal, which say that the EU “will refrain” from re-imposing sanctions on Iran, and the US “will make best efforts in good faith to sustain” the agreement.

The 60-day deadline is set to expire in early July. Behrouz Kamalvandi, the spokesperson for Iran’s atomic energy agency, said recently that should there be no progress in lifting the US sanctions, “the second phase” of rolling back commitments under the JCPOA “will be implemented exactly as planned.”

The deadline itself “cannot be extended,” he stressed.

The official said that Iran’s further actions “depend on the situation,” and Tehran will return to following the deal in full once the restrictions are lifted.

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