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Envoy: Tehran Resolute to Take 3rd Step in Reducing N. Commitments

Iranian Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the International Organizations Kazzem Qaribabadi reminded the remaining members of the nuclear deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), that Tehran is determined to take the 3rd step in reducing its nuclear commitments.

Speaking on Friday while addressing the 16th report released by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on verification of Iran’s compliance with the nuclear deal, Qaribabadi reiterated Tehran’s stance on reducing commitments under the deal, saying complete obligation to the deal entails full compliance by all parties.

“Iran is serious in its decision to take the steps in reducing commitments [under the deal],” Qaribabadi said, adding, “The continuation of the deal is based on full compliance by all parties to the deal.”

If they want to preserve Iran nuclear deal, the remaining parties should guarantee Iran’s benefits stipulated in the JCPOA by adopting urgent and suitable acts, he reiterated.

Qaribabadi described the report as indicating Iran’s good-will for preserving multilateralism in international relations and as verifying its compliance.

Like 15 previous reports, IAEA once again reiterated that since the beginning of the JCPOA implementation, it has continued monitoring Iran’s compliance with its nuclear-related commitments, he added.

The IAEA new report has also explicitly referred to Supreme National Security Council’s order on stopping some of Iran’s measures under the JCPOA and in the framework of articles 26 and 36, he noted.

The Iranian envoy further said that based on the 16th report, Iran’s uranium stockpile has been announced 241.6 kg until August 19, including 25.1 kg 4.5% uranium.

Based on the JCPOA, Iran is permitted to have 202.8 kg enriched uranium.

This shows Iran’s strong determination on taking the next steps regarding the deal, he said.

Tehran has rowed back on its nuclear commitments twice in compliance with articles 26 and 36 of the 2015 deal.

Iran says its reciprocal measures will be reversible as soon as Europe finds practical ways to shield the Iranian economy from unilateral US sanctions which were imposed last year when President Donald Trump withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal.

Early in this month, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, in a meeting at the Iranian Parliament, reassured that Tehran will undertake the third phase of curbing its commitments under the nuclear deal under the prevailing circumstances.

Touching upon Iran’s expectations from the nuclear deal of 2015, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Zarif said, “All member states of the Joint Commission of the JCPOA have unanimously reached the conclusion that the US has been the cause of all tensions while Iran’s demands were clear and transparent from the very beginning and Tehran did not expect anything beyond the JCPOA.”

“We have announced that we will partially abide by the JCPOA if it is not fully observed by the other members of the agreement. However, even these moves of us are also according to the JCPOA,” the top Iranian diplomat reiterated.

Referring to the request of not putting into practice the third phase of scaling down of commitments made by the remaining members of the JCPOA, who are now called 4+1, Zarif underlined that it is now within the remit and jurisdiction of the Islamic Republic to whether operationalize the third step or not, “and assuredly this step will be taken in line with the former ones if the other members of the JCPOA fail to meet their commitments”.

Washington withdrew from the internationally-endorsed 2015 nuclear deal with Iran on May 2018, reimposed the toughest-ever sanctions against the country and started a plan to zero down Tehran’s oil sales.

Under the nuclear agreement reached between Iran and six world powers in July 2015, Tehran undertook to put limits on its nuclear program in exchange for the removal of nuclear-related sanctions.

Yet, Iran continued compliance with the deal, stressing that the remaining signatories to the agreement, specially the Europeans had to work to offset the negative impacts of the US pullout for Iran if they want Tehran to remain in compliance. The Iranian officials had earlier warned that the European Union’s failure in providing the needed ground for Tehran to enjoy the economic benefits of the nuclear deal would exhaust the country’s patience.

Almost a year later, however, the EU failed to provide Tehran with its promised merits. Then, the US state department announced that it had not extended two waivers, one that allowed Iran to store excess heavy water produced in the uranium enrichment process in Oman, and one that allowed Iran to swap enriched uranium for raw yellowcake with Russia.

Until May, Iran was allowed to ship low-enriched uranium produced at Natanz to Russia before it hit the 300-kg limit and the US measure leaves no way for Tehran other than exceeding the ceiling for storing the enriched uranium in violation of the 2015 nuclear deal.

Also, the United States would no longer waive sanctions that allowed Iran to ship heavy water produced at its Arak facility beyond a 300-ton limit set in the 2015 nuclear deal to Oman for storage which again forces Tehran to store it inside country in violation of the nuclear deal.

In return, Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) announced in a statement on May 8 that the country had modified two of its undertakings under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action in return for the US abrogation of the deal and other signatories’ inability to make up for the losses under the agreement, warning that modifications would continue if the world powers failed to take action in line with their promises.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran declares that at the current stage, it does not anymore see itself committed to respecting the limitations on keeping enriched uranium and heavy water reserves,” the statement said.

Then Iran gave Europe 60 days to either normalize economic ties with Iran or accept the modification of Tehran’s obligations under the agreement and implement the Europe’s proposed Instrument in Support of Trade Exchange (INSTEX) to facilitate trade with Iran. 

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