Zarif says Iran still committed to continue cooperation with IAEA 

January 6, 2020 - 20:51

TEHRAN - Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif announced via his official Twitter account on Sunday that Iran is still resolved to continue full cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) even after taking the fifth and final step to put an end to its obligations under the 2015 nuclear deal. 

“Iran's full cooperation w/IAEA will continue,” Zarif tweeted.

Since May 8, Iran has been reducing its nuclear commitments with a series of steps every 60 days. In November, it gave Britain, France, and Germany a third 60-day deadline to salvage the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) or face a further decrease of commitments by Tehran. The deadline passed on Saturday.

In the statement on Sunday, the Iranian government announced that from now on the country will observe no limitations on its nuclear industry, including the level of uranium enrichment, the number of enriched materials as well as research and development.

Zarif said the last step, which is also in accordance with paragraph 36 of the JCPOA, Iran will see no “restriction on a number of centrifuges” that it can operate.

“As 5th & final REMEDIAL step under paragraph 36 of JCPOA, there will no longer be any restriction on the number of centrifuges,” Zarif tweeted.

The chief diplomat reiterated Tehran’s long-held position that if the remaining parties to the JCPOA take steps to offset sanctions on Iran, Tehran will reverse its decisions. 

“This step is within JCPOA & all 5 steps are reversible upon EFFECTIVE implementation of reciprocal obligations,” Zarif added. 

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on November 5 ordered the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) to start injecting uranium gas into advanced IR-6 centrifuges at the Fordow nuclear enrichment facility. It was the fourth step by Iran to reduce its commitments to the JCPOA in response to the abrogation of the multinational nuclear deal by the Trump administration and return of sanctions coupled with inaction by the European Union, especially its big trio (Germany, France, and Britain), to compensate sanctions on Iran.

On May 8, exactly one year after the U.S. abandoned the deal, Tehran said its “strategic patience” is over and began to partially reduce its commitments to the agreement at bi-monthly intervals.

In the first stage, Iran announced that it will not limit its stockpile of the nuclear fuel to 300 kilograms allowed under the deal. On that date (May 8) Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) said if the remaining parties to the JCPOA, especially Europeans, devise a mechanism to protect Iran from the sanctions’ effect in the two-month deadline it will reverse its decision. 

But since European parties missed the deadline, on July 7 Iran announced that it has started enriching uranium to a higher purity than the 3.67%, thereby starting the second step.

Again, as Europe missed the second 60-day deadline, Iran moved to take the third step, removing a ban on nuclear research and development (R&D).