Araqchi said in a televised program on Monday that the recent restarting of uranium enrichment up to 20% purity is in full compliance with the NPT, JCPOA and the safeguards, stressing that if the US returns to its JCPOA commitments the move will not make Iran happy.
“Westerners are suffering from a delusion and think that due to pressures imposed on the country by US sanction in the past years, the Islamic Republic is ready and will quickly embrace America’s return to the deal and so they can set conditions for the lifting of the sanctions. This is a completely wrong and delusional understanding,” He added.
“Steps in reducing JCPOA-related commitments come in response to other parties’ failure to fulfill their obligations under the deal after the unilateral withdrawal of the United States,” the diplomat reiterated.
Referring to the 20% uranium enrichment, Araqchi noted, “The IAEA had been fully informed about the decision and all the required legal steps had been taken in presence of IAEA inspectors.”
“The steps are a right for Iran according to article 36 of the JCPOA,” he said.
Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi
The diplomat stressed that the enriched uranium is for the use of a research reactor.
“We adhere to our principle on nuclear weapons being religiously forbidden. Nukes have no place either in our religious principles or in our defensive and security calculations,” he said.
Iranian Government Spokesman Ali Rabiyee announced that his country has started enriching uranium to the 20 percent purity level at Fordow nuclear facility in the early hours of Monday morning.
“The government had announced earlier that the parliament’s ratification is a binding law which should be abided by the government,” Rabiyee told MNA on Monday.
“The President [Hassan Rouhani] has issued the order for launching 20% [Uranium] enrichment and following the preparatory measures, the process of gas injection started a few hours ago and the first UF6 product will come out within a few hours,” he went on to say.
The Iranian parliamentarians in a meeting on December 1 ratified the generalities of a bill to adopt strategic measures to remove sanctions against the country and defend the nation’s interests.
The lawmakers, in November, had given green light to the single-urgency of the strategic motion, but the plan turned into a double-urgency on Sunday after the assassination of the Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh.
Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh’s car was targeted by an explosion and machinegun fire in Damavand’s Absard 40 kilometers to the East of Tehran on Friday November 27, 2020.
Under the bill, the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) is required to start in two months after the approval of the present bill to produce at least 120 kg of 20%-enriched uranium annually at Fordow nuclear site and store it inside the country, increase the enrichment capacity and production of enriched uranium to at least 500 kg per month, start the installation of centrifuges, gas injection, enrichment, and storage of materials up to proper purity levels within 3 months, via at least 1000 IR-2m centrifuges in the underground part of Shahid Ahmadi Roshan facility in Natanz, transfer any enrichment, research, and development operations of IR-6 centrifuges to the nuclear site of Shahid Ali Mohammadi in Fordow, and start enrichment operation via at least 164 centrifuges and expand it to 1000 by the end of 20 March 2021 (end of the Iranian calendar year) and return the 40 megawatts Arak heavy water reactor to its pre-JCPOA condition by reviving the heart (calandria) of the reactor within 4 months from the date of the adoption of this law.
Also, the government is required to suspend the nuclear deal-based regulatory access beyond the Additional Protocol within 2 months after the adoption of the law based on the articles 36 and 37 of the nuclear deal.
Also, after 3 months from the adoption of this law, if Iran’s banking relations in Europe and the amount of oil purchases by them from Iran is not back to normal and to satisfactory conditions, the government is required to stop the voluntary implementation of the Additional Protocol.
Meantime, if after 3 months from the adoption of the law, the nuclear deal parties return to fulfill their undertakings, the government is required to submit a proposal to the parliament for Iran’s reciprocal action to return to the nuclear deal undertakings, the bill said.
Rouhani said on December 14 that the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) has contributed to the preservation of Iran’s rights and failure of the US at the UN three times in their bids against Iran.
“One of Iran’s goals is to gain achievements in the field of nuclear and people’s rights. The end of the imposed sanctions means that Iranians can achieve one of their rights,” Rouhani added.
President Rouhani stressed that the US must return to the commitments it has made before.
Iran signed the JCPOA with six world states — namely the US, Germany, France, Britain, Russia, and China — in 2015.
Outgoing US President Donald Trump, a stern critic of the historic deal, unilaterally pulled Washington out of the JCPOA in May 2018, and unleashed the “toughest ever” sanctions against the Islamic Republic in defiance of global criticism in an attempt to strangle the Iranian oil trade, but to no avail since its “so-called maximum pressure policy” has failed to push Tehran to the negotiating table.
In response to the US’ unilateral move, Tehran has so far rowed back on its nuclear commitments four times in compliance with Articles 26 and 36 of the JCPOA, but stressed that its retaliatory measures will be reversible as soon as Europe finds practical ways to shield the mutual trade from the US sanctions.
Tehran has particularly been disappointed with failure of the three European signatories to the JCPOA — Britain, France and Germany — to protect its business interests under the deal after the United States’ withdrawal.
On January 5, Iran took a final step in reducing its commitments, and said it would no longer observe any operational limitations on its nuclear industry, whether concerning the capacity and level of uranium enrichment, the volume of stockpiled uranium or research and development.
Meantime, Biden has recently said in a CNN article that he wants a renegotiation of the contents of the deal before he agrees to rejoin the agreement.
“I will offer Tehran a credible path back to diplomacy. If Iran returns to strict compliance with the nuclear deal, the United States would rejoin the agreement as a starting point for follow-on negotiations. With our allies, we will work to strengthen and extend the nuclear deal’s provisions, while also addressing other issues of concern,” he wrote, mentioning that he wants changes to the contents of the nuclear deal and guarantees from Tehran that it would be open for compromise to strike multiple deals over its missile and regional powers as well as a number of other issues that have been the bones of contention between the two sides in the last four decades.
In response, Zarif had stressed that the US has violated the nuclear deal and is in no position to ask for any conditions for its return to the JCPOA, adding that it’s Tehran that has its own terms to allow the US back into the internationally endorsed agreement.
The foreign minister has reiterated time and again that Tehran would not change even a single word of the agreement, and cautioned the US that it needs to pay reparations for the damage it has inflicted on Iran through its retreat from the nuclear agreement and give enough insurances that it would not go for initiating the trigger mechanism again before it could get back to the deal.