UN nuclear inspectors will report back on Iran’s enrichment move

July 7, 2019

TEHRAN – Inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), who are in Iran, will report back once they have checked the level of Tehran’s enrichment level, the agency said on Sunday.

“We are aware of Iran’s announcement related to its uranium enrichment level,” a spokesman for the agency said, according to Reuters.

“IAEA inspectors in Iran will report to our headquarters as soon as they verify the announced development,” it added.

The IAEA announcement came after Iran on Sunday declared a second step in reduction of its commitments under the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers by ramping up the level of uranium enrichment to over 3.67 percent.

The formal announcement was made at a press conference in the president’s office in Tehran.

The joint press conference was attended by spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Behrouz Kamalvandi, Deputy Foreign Minister for Political Affairs Seyed Abbas Araqchi, and government spokesman Ali Rabiee.

Kamalvandi announced that Iran is increasing the level of enrichment to supply fuel for its nuclear power plants.

The enrichment would stand at 5 percent for now, he said, adding that Iran may begin higher-grade uranium enrichment to produce fuel for the Tehran nuclear reactor in future.

Tehran’s new decision to increase the level of uranium enrichment came after the JCPOA parties missed a 60-day deadline to fulfill their undertakings and ensure Iran’s economic interests under the agreement.

President Hassan Rouhani had warned on Wednesday that the second step of reducing commitments would take place on Sunday. “On July 7, the level of (uranium) enrichment in Iran will not be 3.67 percent anymore, as we will abandon such a commitment and increase it (enrichment) to any amount that we need.”

Days after Tehran’s stockpile of the enriched uranium surpassed the limit allowed under the 2015 nuclear deal, the IAEA said on July 5 it would hold a meeting on Iran’s nuclear program next week.

The meeting of the IAEA board of governors, which follows an emergency call by the United States, would be held “on 10 July at 14:30,” an IAEA spokesman said.

Ironically, the U.S. has repeatedly ignored IAEA reports certifying that Iran was compliant with the terms of the nuclear deal in order to pull out of that deal unilaterally and reimpose sanctions.

“The international community must hold Iran’s regime accountable,” U.S. Ambassador to International Organizations in Vienna Jackie Wolcott said in a statement. “The United States strongly supports the IAEA and its verification efforts in Iran,” the statement continued.

Kazem Gharibabadi, Iran’s ambassador to the Vienna-based international bodies, called the U.S. request for an IAEA meeting a “sad irony”.

“The fact that the U.S, as the prime violator of the JCPOA, has tabled this request, indicates its isolation in contradicting multilateralism and rule of law in international affairs,” Gharibabadi tweeted.

“Iran’s recent decisions, which are exercised in response to the situation caused by the U.S, including by imposing sanctions on all who want to implement their commitments under the JCPOA, tend to bring about the lost balance of the deal and are fully in line w/ its provisions,” Gharibabadi added.

Iran’s Vienna mission to the UN also said the actions are not related to the IAEA and are only linked with the agreement’s provisions.

The IAEA’s monitors Iran’s nuclear installations and activities and has repeatedly verified that so far Iran has carried out its obligations under the JCPOA.

SP/PA

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