Iran further reduces commitment to 2015 nuclear deal

Monday, 08 Jul, 2019

Tensions are rising again with Iran revealing today it will raise its enrichment of uranium beyond the agreed limit set by the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers.

"We are fully prepared to enrich uranium at any level and with any amount", said Behrouz Kamalvandi, spokesman for Iran's Atomic Energy Organisation.

Iran also repeated threats to increase its level of enriched uranium beyond limits stipulated in the 2015 nuclear deal, which the U.S. exited.

With this clause Zarif justified Iran's decision, announced earlier on Sunday, to surpass the limit of uranium enrichment set under the JCPOA deal.

Formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the nuclear accord was meant to limit Iran's civilian nuclear program and prevent it from developing nuclear weapons.

"For example, we need uranium enriched to 5 percent for use in the Bushehr [power plant], and this is a completely peaceful objective", Velayati said.

Inspectors from the United Nations nuclear watchdog, who are in Iran, will report back once they have checked that Tehran has enriched uranium to a higher level of purity than that allowed under its nuclear deal, the agency said on Sunday.

"For Bushehr nuclear reactor we need five percent enrichment and it is a completely peaceful goal", he added.

The three European Union powers still support the deal - which was supposed to lift worldwide sanctions in return for Iran curtailing its nuclear activities.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the Iranian decision to boost enrichment levels "a very, very risky step", the Associated Press reported. Abbas Araghchi told a news conference Sunday that he can not elaborate now on the nature of the next step.

Rouhani initially flagged Tehran's intentions on May 8, exactly a year on from US President Donald Trump unilaterally abandoning the multilateral deal.

"We'll see what happens with Iran", he said.

"We condemn the seizure of a supertanker flying the Panamanian flag committed on July (4) by the Gibraltar authorities who were backed by UK Royal Marines", the Russian foreign ministry said in a Friday statement, carried by TASS news agency.

"For the enrichment we are using the same machines with some more pressure and some special technical work", he said.

Tehran took the action in response to Washington abandoning the deal a year ago and hitting Iran s crucial oil exports and financial transactions with biting sanctions.

On Saturday, French President Emmanuel Macron told his Iranian counterpart, Hassan Rouhani, in a phone call that he is trying to find a way by July 15 to resume the dialogue between Iran and Western partners.

"We think it would be far more risky for the Middle East if Iran acquired nuclear weapons".

"It is a very, very unsafe step", he said.