Iran stops key provisions of nuclear deal, blames U.S. for ending agreement
By Dpa Correspondents
Iran will stop implementing some key provisions of its nuclear deal with major powers, President Hassan Rowhani announced on Wednesday, exactly one year after the United States said it was withdrawing from the 2015 pact.
Rowhani communicated his decision to China, Germany, France, Britain and Russia in a letter, the ISNA news agency reported.
“We can’t implement an international agreement by ourselves if the other side does not,” the president said at a cabinet meeting in Tehran.
Iran had patiently waited for one year after the US pulled out, but the remaining five powers were not able to fulfill their obligations, he said.
In a first phase of Tehran’s gradual withdrawal, the country will no longer abide by the limits regarding its enriched uranium stock and materials related to its heavy water reactor in Arak, according to Rowhani.
French Defense Minister Florence Parly said that European countries will mull renewed sanctions against Iran if the country stops abiding by its nuclear agreement with major powers.
“If these obligations are not met, this question would naturally arise,” she told radio RMC.
However, the minister stressed that France wants to keep the nuclear agreement alive.
A senior EU official said on condition of anonymity that consultations would take place in the coming days between the five powers that agreed the Iran deal alongside the US. Any EU decision to reimpose sanctions on Iran would have to be taken by all member states.
The 2015 agreement placed strict curbs on materials that can potentially be used to make nuclear warheads, in order to prevent Iran from acquiring an arsenal that could destabilize the region.
Western sanctions against Iran were lifted in return, but the US has gradually revived sanctions over the past year, including an embargo against oil exports that are essential for Iran’s economy.
The European countries that are involved in the deal have tried to set up a barter system so that foreign companies can do business with Iran while avoiding US punitive measures, but Rowhani made clear that these efforts were inadequate.
“After the US departure, the other five contract parties have tried to keep the deal alive with medicines; we believe that surgery is called for,” he said.
If the banking and oil sanctions against Iran are lifted within two months, Tehran will return to implementing the nuclear agreement, according to Rowhani.
If the restrictions stay in place, the Islamic republic would reconsider the deal’s ban on enriching uranium only to up to a purity level of 3.5 per cent.
Tehran’s announcement came after Washington stepped up its pressure on Iran in recent weeks.
Last month, the US declared Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps a foreign terrorist organization.
On Sunday, the US said it had deployed an aircraft carrier to the Middle East to send a message to Iran that any attack on US interests or those of its allies will be met with “unrelenting force.”
Russia’s Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Wednesday that Iran’s withdrawal was a consequence of “rash steps” taken by the US.
Rowhani is expected to provide further information on Iran’s plans in a television interview Wednesday evening.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna has reported that Tehran has kept its nuclear activities within the agreed limits since the agreement came into force in early 2016.
However, Trump has charged that the deal will not prevent nuclear arsenal and that it does not curb Iran’s aggressive regional aspirations.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who lobbied against a nuclear deal, said on Wednesday that his country “will not allow Iran to acquire nuclear weapons.”
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