Russian diplomat says Iran not after nuclear weapons

July 2, 2019

TEHRAN – Russia’s Permanent Representative to International Organizations in Vienna Mikhail Ulyanov has said that Iran’s act in exceeding stockpiles of enriched uranium does not mean it is seeking to develop nuclear weapons.

“Iran’s stockpiles of low enriched uranium exceeded 300 kg. This is a deviation from voluntary commitment under #JCPOA, but has nothing to do with a violation of NPT or development of nuclear weapons. Ironically this is a result of U.S. decision to sanction removal of LEU from Iran,” Ulyanov tweeted on Monday.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Monday that Iran’s enriched uranium stockpile has passed the 300 kilogram limit under the 2015 nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

“I have been informed that Iran has passed 300-kilogram stockpile according to its plans and we had announced that earlier. Based on what had been announced, we have said very clearly what we do and consider it our rights within the framework of the JCPOA,” he told reporters on the sidelines of a ceremony.

Hours later, Zarif said the action does not violate the JCPOA.

“We have NOT violated the #JCPOA,” Zarif tweeted.

The foreign minister said Iran was exercising its right in response to the U.S. revocation of the nuclear agreement.

Zarif noted that Iran’s measure will be reversed as soon as the Europeans start to fulfill their obligations under the JCPOA.

On May 8, Iran announced a partial withdrawal from some aspects of the nuclear pact, saying that the country would no longer adhere to some of the limits on its nuclear activities as long as sanctions are in place. It also threatened to step up uranium enrichment if an agreement is not made within 60 days to protect it from the sanctions’ effects. The deadline ends on July 7.

U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew Washington from the nuclear deal in May 2018 and also decided to re-impose unilateral sanctions against Tehran.

Under the JCPOA, Iran undertook to put limits on its nuclear program in exchange for the removal of sanctions.

The deal requires Tehran to sell off any enriched uranium above the limit on international markets in return for natural uranium. 

As a retaliation against the U.S. withdrawal from the JCPOA and reimposition of sanctions on Iran coupled with a failure by the European Union to compensate for the U.S. exit, Iran officially announced that it stops selling stockpiles of enriched uranium and heavy water for 60 days from May 8.

The Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) announced on June 17 that Iran’s stockpile of enriched uranium will exceed 300 kilograms by June 27.

After June 27, Kamalvandi said, Iran will speed up its uranium enrichment activities beyond 3.67 percent if the other sides don’t take a practical step to offset sanctions.

“After surpassing 300 kilograms, we will increase the speed of producing enriched uranium above 3.67 percent,” Kamalvandi stated.

NA/PA
 

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