Iran today announced that it has suspended some commitments under the nuclear deal and threatened to resume higher uranium enrichment, in response to the U.S. withdrawing from the JCPOA a year earlier.
Iran’s President Rouhani said he would keep enriched uranium stocks (300kg) and heavy water (130 tonnes) in the country rather than sell them abroad.
Under the deal, Iran is required to sell its surplus enriched uranium abroad, rather than keep it.
President Rouhani has threatened to resume production of uranium enriched to a higher level and withdraw from more commitments in 60 days, if world powers (UK, France, Germany, China and Russia) do not protect its oil and banking sectors from U.S. sanctions.
President Rouhani said: “If the five countries came to the negotiating table and we reached an agreement, and if they could protect our interests in the oil and banking sectors, we will go back to square one (and will resume our commitments)”.
He warned of a “firm response” if the nuclear issue is once again referred to the UN Security Council, but suggested that Tehran is ready for nuclear negotiations.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is visiting London today for talks with Prime Minister Theresa May and Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, where it is expected that Iran will be discussed.
Last week, the U.S. tightened sanctions on Iran’s oil exports, confirming that it was ending the temporary waivers it granted a number of countries so they could keep importing Iranian oil while avoiding sanctions imposed by the White House on the Iranian oil industry.
In May 2018, U.S. President Donald Trump announced that the U.S. will withdraw from the Iran nuclear agreement, and reimpose “powerful” economic sanctions that were waived when the deal was signed in 2015.
A formal nuclear agreement – the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) – between Iran and P5+1 world powers was signed in Vienna on 14th July 2015, following two years of negotiations.