Tehran sets to declare limits on nuclear commitments 

June 16, 2019

TEHRAN – Iran will announce its latest measures to limit its commitments under a 2015 nuclear deal with world powers on Monday, following its decision to counter the United States’ unilateral withdrawal from the deal in 2018.

According to a report by Tasnim news agency, the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran has invited over 70 press representatives to the Arak nuclear facility for Monday, where “very important information” on increasing the country’s enriched uranium stockpile will be announced.

The report added that Tehran will also announce its measures to prepare for a second phase of limiting commitments that is to begin in a few weeks.

On May 8, exactly one year after U.S. President Donald Trump quit the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Iran adopted a countermeasure announcing its decision to abandon limits on its uranium enrichment stockpile unless Europe makes a decision within 60 days to shield it from the U.S. sanctions.

After walking away from the landmark nuclear deal a year ago, Trump imposed strict sanctions that squeezed Iran’s economy, triggered a currency collapse and ushered in shortages of consumer goods. The JCPOA had lifted previous sanctions on Iran and forbade any new ones as long as Iran complied with the deal.

Iran’s appeal was addressed to European signatories to the agreement, which are struggling to reconcile Trump’s hardline stance on Iran with their promise to continue trading and engaging with the energy-rich nation.

German trade with Iran was worth 3.4 billion euros ($3.8 billion) in 2017 and 1.5 billion euros in the first half of 2018. Trade with France totaled 2.42 billion euros last year. But secondary U.S. sanctions, which punish non-American companies and financial institutions doing business with Iran, mean major European companies are already staying away.

The U.S. stepped up economic pressure early in May by allowing the expiration of waivers that permitted eight governments to import Iranian oil, in a drive to cut Iran’s oil exports to zero.

In a letter to other signatories on May 8, Iran’s Supreme National Security Council said it was no longer committed to restrictions on the storage of enriched uranium and heavy water stocks, and could stop observing limits on uranium enrichment at a later stage.

If European partners meet pledges to facilitate Iran’s access to banking and oil markets, however, it will restore full compliance with the agreement, Tehran promised.

On Saturday, Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister for Political Affairs Seyed Abbas Araqchi told the visiting Secretary General of the European External Action Service (EEAS) Helga Schmid that the 60-day ultimatum “will under no condition be extended,” adding, “Iran will operationalize later measures, i.e., the second phase [of commitment limitation], unless they [Europe] fulfill our demands.”

SP/PA

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