Iran’s increased stocks of key nuclear materials are still within the limits set by a 2015 deal it signed with major world powers, a quarterly report by the UN nuclear agency said.
The report by the IAEA which was sent to the agency’s member states, said Iran had stayed within caps on items, including the level to which it enriches uranium and its stock of enriched uranium.
Despite an announcement from Iran earlier this month that it has suspended some of its commitments under the nuclear accord, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the country’s stocks of enriched uranium and heavy water did not exceed the ceilings set in the agreement, the report added.
According to the report, the IAEA verified on May 26 that following a halt in the production of heavy water at the Heavy Water Production Plant (HWPP) between April 15, 2019 and May 22, 2019, operation of the plant had resumed and that Iran’s stock of heavy water was 125.2 metric tons, an increase of 0.4 tons on February but still under the 130-ton limit.
As of May 20, Iran had 174.1 kg of enriched uranium, up from 163.8 kg in February but again within the relevant limit, it added.
The IAEA report also said the JCPOA allows Iran to use thousands of its first-generation IR-1 centrifuges but it restricts the number of more advanced models to single or double digits.
“Technical discussions in relation to the IR-6 centrifuges are ongoing,” the agency’s report said.
Washington withdrew from the internationally-endorsed 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, 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.
In 2018, all the other signatories — Russia, China, Germany, France, the UK, and the EU — refused to follow the US example and confirmed their commitment to the accord, trying to save the deal with the Islamic Republic.
Iranian officials then 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.
Yet, Iran continued compliance with deal, stressing that the remaining signatories to the agreement had to work to offset the negative impacts of the US pullout for Iran if they want Tehran to remain in compliance.
Europeans’ honesty in dealing with the Iran nuclear deal has always been seriously doubted by Iranian masses that were discontent with talks with European states.
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 now, 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 any more see itself committed to respecting the limitations on keeping enriched uranium and heavy water reserves,” the statement said.
The statement gave the Group 4+1 (China, Russia, Britain and France plus Germany) “60 days to put into action their nuclear deal undertakings, specially in the banking and oil sectors, warning that “in case these countries fail to meet Iran’s demands, the Islamic Republic of Iran will cease implementation of restrictions on uranium enrichment levels and measures related to the modernization of Arak Heavy Water Reactor as well”.
“Once our demands are met, we will resume implementation of the ceased undertakings. Otherwise, the Islamic Republic of Iran will stop compliance with its other undertakings in consequent phases,” the SNSC warned.
It underlined Iran’s readiness to continue its consultations with the countries which have remained in the nuclear deal at all levels “but will show a firm and rapid reaction to any irresponsible measure, including referring the issue to the UN Security Council or imposition of more sanctions”.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran’s president has in his letter to the leaders of the nuclear deal member states clearly reminded them of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s type of reaction,” the statement added.
It reminded the G4+1 of Iran’s good will during the nuclear talks, implementation of the nuclear deal and giving sufficient time to the other signatories to implement the deal, saying that it is now their turn to prove their good will and adopt serious and practical measures to protect the nuclear deal.
“The door of diplomacy will not remain open for a long time and the US and other members remaining under the nuclear deal are fully responsible for failure of the nuclear deal and any possible consequences,” the statement said.
It underlined that the decision was made in line with defending the Iranian nation’s security and national interests and materialization of Iran’s rights stated in the paragraphs 26 and 36 of the nuclear deal.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in a letter on May 8 informed the Group 4+1 on stopping implementation of a number of Tehran’s undertakings stated in the 2015 nuclear deal.
Deputy Foreign Minister Seyed Abbas Araqchi submitted the letter to the ambassadors of the G4+1 to Tehran after they were called to the foreign ministry.
The letter contained decisions by the SNSC to “halt implementation of a number of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s undertakings under the nuclear deal”.
Also, another letter was sent by foreign minister Zarif to EU Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini on May 8 to inform her of details of Iran’s measures.
Top EU diplomats said on May 9 they remained committed to the deal but would not bend to any ultimatums.
“We strongly urge Iran to continue to implement its commitments under the JCPOA in full as it has done until now and to refrain from any escalatory steps,” the officials noted in a statement.
“We reject any ultimatums and we will assess Iran’s compliance on the basis of Iran’s performance regarding its nuclear-related commitments under the JCPOA and the NPT (Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons),” they added.