Zarif: Iran’s response to economic terrorism contrary to what Trump ‘was led to believe’ 

November 6, 2019 - 17:12

TEHRAN - Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said late on Tuesday that Iran’s response to the United States’ strategy of “economic terrorism” and “blackmail” is quite contrary to what President Donald Trump “was led to believe”.

Zarif’s remarks followed a few hours after President Hassan Rouhani ordered the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) to start injecting uranium gas into advanced IR-6 centrifuges at the Fordow nuclear enrichment facility from Wednesday.

Enriching gas into centrifuges at Fordow was the latest step by Iran in retaliation to Trump’s abandonment of the 2015 nuclear agreement, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and imposition of the harshest ever sanctions on Iran.

Upon the order by Rouhani, the AEOI on Wednesday began injecting gas into centrifuges at the Fordow — where 1,044 centrifuges are installed. The injection took place at the presence of inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

“Our response to U.S. economic terrorism and blackmail is opposite of what Donald Trump was led to believe,” Zarif tweeted. 

Resuming work at Fordow was the fourth step by Iran in line with paragraph 36 of the JCPOA which “allows one side, under certain circumstances, to stop complying with the deal if the other side is out of compliance.”

"Our 4th step to suspend a JCPOA provision is foreseen in paragraph 36 as remedy to U.S.+E3 violations," Zarif remarked.

Iran has repeatedly said if the European Union, especially the three European signatories to the deal (Britain, France, and Germany) shield Iran from sanctions, Tehran will immediately reverse its decisions. 

Zarif advised the EU and the European trio to abide by their obligations as an “easy solution” to save the JCPOA from a total collapse, saying Iran will "reverse course" in that case.

“Easy solution for E3/EU: Abide by your obligations and we'll reverse course,” Zarif reiterated.

Ali Akbar Salehi, the AEOI chief, said on Tuesday that will start enriching uranium to the purity of 5% at the Fordow facility, ISNA reported.

"We have previously enriched uranium to 5% and 20% at the Fordow site. Now we possess enough 20% enriched uranium, but we have the capability to produce it in accordance with the JCPOA if our reserves end," Salehi, a nuclear physicist, said.