Iran suspends another part of nuclear deal
Iran will break its uranium stockpile limit set by the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) after June 27, spokesman of the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran (AEOI) Behrouz Kamalvandi said.
According to the official, Iran may export heavy water and that move would not be considered a violation of the nuclear deal. It may also increase uranium enrichment to up to 20% for the use in local reactors.
The JCPOA specifies that Iran is limited to keeping 300 kg of uranium enriched up to 3.67%. As part of the Iran deal, Tehran is allowed to trade any enriched uranium above that threshold on international markets in exchange for natural uranium.
The spokesman added that the European countries needed to "act not talk" by stepping in for Iran in order to protect the country from U.S. sanctions, ISNA reported.
Kamalvandi pointed out that signatories still had some time since Iranian nuclear bodies were waiting for the government's decision on the next stage of its obligations reduction under the JCPOA.
Chairman of Iranian Parliament’s Nuclear Committee Mojtaba Zonnour, in turn, said that Iran will consider leaving the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) if the European sides to the JCPOA fail to do their share of saving the agreement before the 60-day deadline.
He believes that Europe has no will to preserve the Iran nuclear deal and pay the price that the measures needed to preserve the agreement entail.
"The volume of our economic transactions with Europe at best is $20 billion in a year, whereas the volume of economic transactions between Europe and the US is something between $900-1,000 billion," Zonnour noted. "Of course, Europe would not sacrifice $1,000 billion for $20 billion," the Mehr News Agency cited him as saying.
The MP noted that preserving the nuclear deal in its current state is beneficial to Europe, "because they don’t want to pay the price." "They just want to control Iran, and make sure that we won’t gain anything from the agreement," he added.
About Iran’s options in case Europe fails to take concrete steps to save the JCPOA before the 60-day deadline runs out, the chairman of Iranian Parliament’s Nuclear Committee said that Iran would increase uranium enrichment to whatever percentage necessary for peaceful purposes, and bring the Arak reactor back on stream.
"We could also stop the voluntary implementation of the Additional Protocol, reconsider the level of our cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Organization, and mull over leaving the NPT," Zonnour concluded.
Iran first announced that it would start suspending some of its voluntary commitments under the JCPOA within 60 days on 8 May – exactly one year after the U.S. unilaterally pulled out from the deal and decided to reinstate all sanctions against the Islamic Republic.
Senior research fellow of the Institute for Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Vladimir Sazhin, speaking to Vestnik Kavkaza, noted that Iran is trying to accelerate the work of the EU to create a mechanism to bypass U.S. sanctions on Iran. "The UK, Germany and France have developed INSTEX back in January, but no progress has been made since its announcement. Iran, outraged by such immobility of the European Union, issued an ultimatum, refusing to meet the requirements for uranium and heavy water limits," he pointed out.
"The European authorities were unable to force EU companies and banks to work with Iran within the INSTEX system - which are interested in the U.S. market and fear U.S. sanctions. Iran does not like this situation, so it decided to stop selling low-enriched uranium to the JCPOA countries. It is expected that the ultimatum deadline will expire on July 7, and then either INSTEX will start operating and Iran will continue fulfilling its obligations based on the JCPOA, or neither will be done," Vladimir Sazhin pointed out.
Zonnour's statements, according to the expert, are only intended to put pressure on the EU. "The production of highly enriched uranium and the launch of Arak reactor would be an undesirable outcome of the entire campaign around Iran. In this case, the JCPOA will collapse, Iran will begin to actively develop its nuclear program, which will provoke a negative reaction from the U.S., Israel and the Arab countries of the Persian Gulf. Russia will react negatively as well, since the Arak heavy water reactor is capable of producing up to 10 kg of plutonium per year, which is enough for two nuclear bombs. In this regard, Russia doesn't want Iran not to leave the nuclear deal," the senior research fellow of the Institute for Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences concluded.