SNSC says Iran will cease implementing other JCPOA obligations phase by phase if its needs go unmet

Iran stops sale of enriched uranium, heavy water for 60 days: Rouhani

May 8, 2019

TEHRAN – As a retaliation against the U.S. pullout from the 2015 nuclear deal and reimposition of sanctions on Iran coupled with a failure by the European Union to compensate for the U.S. exit, President Hassan Rouhani on Wednesday officially announced that Iran stops selling stockpiles of enriched uranium and heavy water for 60 days from May 8.

Under the 2015 nuclear agreement, officially called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Iran was only allowed to keep 300 kilograms of enriched uranium. Also, based on the agreement, Iran was authorized to exchange heavy water for importation of yellow cake.

According to the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC), if the remaining JCPOA parties fail to agree to implement their commitments in banking and oil transactions in 60 days, Iran will stop observing restrictions on the level of enriching uranium“This announcement is for 60 days. We have announced to the other side, the five countries [Germany, France, UK, Russia and China], that if they come to the negotiating table in 60 days and we reach a conclusion and safeguard our main interests which are oil [sale] and banking relations, we will return to the previous situation of May 7, 2019,” Rouhani told a cabinet meeting.

However, he warned, if any conclusion is not reached, Iran will resume enriching uranium and will not follow obligations under the JCPOA according to which its uranium enrichment should not exceed the purity level of 3.67 percent.

Pointing to a letter he sent to the leaders of the remaining parties to the JCPOA, Rouhani said he has mentioned in the letter that Iran will give a firm response if the remaining parties refer the issue to the UN Security Council.

The remaining signatories to the JCPOA are Germany, Britain, France, Russia and China.

Rouhani’s letter was submitted to the ambassadors of these countries in Tehran by Deputy Foreign Minister for Political Affairs Abbas Araqchi.
 
Rouhani noted that Iran has not quit the JCPOA and his action is within the framework of the articles 26 and 36 of the deal.

“No word reduced or added. The JCPOA is the same JCPOA and will not change. However, we are ready to sit at the negotiating table to better implement it and make your implementation of the commitments better,” Rouhani explained.

“We will resume implementing the commitments when our needs are met, otherwise the Islamic Republic of Iran will stop implementing other obligations phase by phase,” the SNSC states.

Under the JCPOA, endorsed by the UN Security Council Resolution 2231, Iran was tasked to put limits on its nuclear activities in exchange for termination of economic and financial sanctions. However, since Trump pulled the U.S. out of the JCPOA, the European countries cut banking ties with Iran, stopped purchasing Iranian oil, annulled agreements, and their companies left Iran one after another.

Even when the oil sanctions were introduced against Iran in November 2018, which exempted certain countries, including Greece and Italy, these two EU members refused to buy oil from Iran in limited volumes. However, certain other countries such as China, India, Japan, South Korea and Turkey continued to buy oil from Iran under sanctions waivers.

Trump’s exit from the JCPOA and Europeans’ refusal to respect their obligations happened despite the fact that International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has issued 14 reports each time confirming that Iran has been fully abiding by the terms of the agreement.

The Europeans have just expressed political support for the JCPOA without taking a concrete step. Iran has said words will not save the JCPOA.

‘Iran won’t surrender to bullying actions’

Elsewhere in his remarks, Rouhani told the U.S. that Iran has never initiated a war, but his country will not surrender to bullying actions.

Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) also issued a statement on Wednesday announcing that Iran will stop implementing some parts of its commitments under the JCPOA.

“In the current phase, the Islamic Republic of Iran does not consider itself committed to Comply with restrictions on its stockpiles of enriched uranium and heavy water."“The Islamic Republic of Iran upholds its rights under articles 26 and 36 of the JCPOA and will stop implementing some parts of its obligation under the JCPOA from today, May 8, 2019, in line with protecting the Iranian people’s security and national interests,” the statement said.

“We will resume implementing the commitments when our needs are met, otherwise the Islamic Republic of Iran will stop implementing other obligations phase by phase,” the statement added.

“In the current phase, the Islamic Republic of Iran does not consider itself committed to comply with restrictions on its stockpiles of enriched uranium and heavy water,” it explained.

According to the SNSC, if the remaining parties fail to agree to implement their commitments in banking and oil transactions in 60 days, Iran will stop observing restrictions on the degree of enriching uranium and modernizing the Arak heavy water nuclear reactor.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran is ready to continue consultations with remaining signatories to the deal at all levels, however, [Iran] will respond firmly to any irresponsible action

including referring the issue to the UN Security Council or imposing more sanctions,” the statement added.

In line with its “maximum pressure”, the Trump administration has been ratcheting up its sanctions on Iran since last year. Just on April 22, it announced it wants to zero out Iran’s oil exports and announced that if any country buys oil from Iran will be punished.


NA/PA

 
 

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