Updated in: 22 September 2019 - 11:05
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TEHRAN (defapress)- Iranian President Hassan Rouhani declared that the country will no more abide by restrictions put on its nuclear R&D program based on the nuclear deal as the third step to react to the Europeans' non-commitment to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
News ID: 78598
Publish Date: 05September 2019 - 17:41

Iran to Put Aside N. Deal-Related Restrictions on R&D ProgramRouhani made the remarks in a press conference after a trilateral meeting with Judiciary Chief Seyed Ebrahim Rayeesi and Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani in Tehran on Wednesday.

According to Rouhani, the third step will be taken on Friday, September 6, after talks between Iran and the G4+1 group of countries did not bear "the desired result".

"We took the first step in reducing our commitments, and gave the G4+1 a two-month deadline. Then we went ahead with the second phase, giving them another two-month deadline. In the four-month period, we held negotiations with the G4+1, including the European Union and the three European countries in particular," he said.

However, Rouhani added, Iran did not achieve the desired result, and will thus take the third step on Friday.

In the third phase, Rouhani said, "the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) will be obliged to immediately start research and development on whatever technical needs the country has, and set aside all R&D commitments stipulated in the JCPOA."

The president said the AEOI is expected to expand its "R&D on various new centrifuges and whatever the country may need for uranium enrichment" at a fast pace.

"A major part of negotiations with the G5+1 (Russia, China, the US, the UK, France, and Germany) was focused on the R&D timing... All the R&D timings in the JCPOA to which we committed ourselves will be fully lifted as of Friday," Rouhani said.

"We will carry out whatever we need technically... under the supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and within a peaceful framework," he went on to say.

Rouhani at the same time stressed that the cuts are reversible if other parties to the JCPOA fulfill their obligations.

"We still give another two-month time to the P4+1, during which we may return to our JCPOA commitments in case we reach an agreement," he added.

Earlier in the day, Rouhani had stated that the third phase will begin as it was "unlikely that we will reach a final agreement with Europe today or tomorrow".

The president described the third phase of Iran’s commitment reductions as “highly important in nature,” emphasizing that this would the “most significant step that we take” and would “have extraordinary effects”.

This phase, Rouhani added, will "accelerate" the activities of the AEOI.

Washington withdrew from the internationally-endorsed 2015 nuclear deal with Iran on May 2018, reimposed the toughest-ever sanctions against the country and started a plan to zero down Tehran's oil sales.

Under the nuclear agreement reached between Iran and six world powers in July 2015, Tehran undertook to put limits on its nuclear program in exchange for the removal of nuclear-related sanctions.

Yet, Iran continued compliance with deal, stressing that the remaining signatories to the agreement (specially the Europeans) had to work to offset the negative impacts of the US pullout for Iran if they want Tehran to remain in compliance. The Iranian officials had earlier warned that the European Union’s failure in providing the needed ground for Tehran to enjoy the economic benefits of the nuclear deal would exhaust the country's patience.

Almost a year later, however, the EU failed to provide Tehran with its promised merits. Then, the US state department announced that it had not extended two waivers, one that allowed Iran to store excess heavy water produced in the uranium enrichment process in Oman, and one that allowed Iran to swap enriched uranium for raw yellowcake with Russia.

Until now, Iran was allowed to ship low-enriched uranium produced at Natanz to Russia before it hit the 300-kg limit and the US measure leaves no way for Tehran other than exceeding the ceiling for storing the enriched uranium in violation of the 2015 nuclear deal.

Also, the United States would no longer waive sanctions that allowed Iran to ship heavy water produced at its Arak facility beyond a 300-ton limit set in the 2015 nuclear deal to Oman for storage which again forces Tehran to store it inside country in violation of the nuclear deal.

In return, Iran's Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) announced in a statement on May 8 that the country had modified two of its undertakings under the JCPOA in return for the US abrogation of the deal and other signatories’ inability to make up for the losses under the agreement, warning that modifications would continue if the world powers failed to take action in line with their promises.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran declares that at the current stage, it does not anymore see itself committed to respecting the limitations on keeping enriched uranium and heavy water reserves," the statement said.

Then Iran gave Europe 60 days to either normalize economic ties with Iran or accept the modification of Tehran’s obligations under the agreement and implement the Europe's proposed INSTEX to facilitate trade with Iran.

Iran set up and registered a counterpart to INSTEX called Special Trade and Financing Instrument between Iran and Europe (STFI) to pave the way for bilateral trade.

Then on June 28, Secretary General of the European External Action Service (EEAS) Helga Schmid announced that INSTEX has become operational.

"INSTEX now operational, first transactions being processed and more EU Members States to join. Good progress on Arak and Fordow projects," Schmid wrote on her twitter account after a meeting of the Joint Commission on JCPOA ended in Vienna following three and a half hours of talks by the remaining signatories to the deal (the EU3 and Russia and China).

It was the 12th meeting of the Joint Commission on JCPOA in Vienna.

Meantime, seven European countries--Austria, Belgium, Finland, the Netherlands, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden--in a joint statement expressed their support for the efforts for implementation of the INSTEX.

Later, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Seyed Abbas Araqchi described the nuclear deal joint commission meeting with the Europeans as "a step forward", but meantime, reminded that it did not meet Iran's expectations.

“It was a step forward, but it is still not enough and not meeting Iran’s expectations,” said Araqchi, who headed the Iranian delegation at the JCPOA joint commission meeting in Vienna.

In addition to their defiance of the JCPOA, the Europeans showed more animosity towards Iran earlier this month and seized an Iranian oil tanker by Britain at the US request.

Acting Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Borrell said Gibraltar detained the supertanker Grace 1 after a request by the United States to Britain.

Borrell was quoted by Reuters as saying that Spain was looking into the seizure of the ship and how it may affect Spanish sovereignty as it appears to have happened in Spanish waters.

Spain does not recognize the waters around Gibraltar as British.

Experts believe that the measure taken by the British government in seizing the Syria-bound Iranian tanker is illegal and can have serious consequences for the government in London.

Spokesman of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Behrouz Kamalvandi said in July the country's uranium enrichment level now stands at 4.5%, but underlined that the degree could increase if required by political rationale.

Kamalvandi had also earlier underlined Iran's capability to return to the conditions before the nuclear deal if the other signatories do not remain committed to their undertakings.

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