Iran has downplayed a vote at the US House of Representatives to bar the American government from purchasing heavy water from Iran in the future.
Last month, the US government completed an $8.6-million deal to buy 32 metric tons of heavy water from Iran. On Wednesday, 251 American lawmakers voted for a bill that would prohibit such purchases next year. The measure is yet to be approved by the US Senate.
“The bill would be unimportant even if it is ratified,” Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Legal and International Affairs Abbas Araqchi said in a TV interview on Thursday night.
“Essentially, in line with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), neither the US nor any other country is obligated to buy heavy water from Iran,” he said.
Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council – the United States, France, Britain, China and Russia – plus Germany signed an agreement on the Iranian nuclear program known as the JCPOA in Vienna on July 14, 2015 following two and a half years of intensive talks.
Under the deal, which took effect in January, all nuclear-related sanctions imposed on Iran by the European Union, the UN Security Council and the US would be lifted. Iran has, in return, put some limitations on its nuclear activities.
“Iran is only obligated to offer its surplus of heavy water to international markets for sale,” Araqchi said, adding, “Heavy water is a valuable commodity and there are many who are willing to buy.”
The United States has, subject to the deal, agreed to buy the heavy water from Iran, and the Islamic Republic is in talks with other countries, which would potentially buy 40 more metric tons, the official said.
He said there were attempts underway at promoting Iranophobia by radical forces within the US and the region in order to prevent Tehran from availing itself of the opportunities provided by the JCPOA.
These are the same movements, which tried all they could to prevent the nuclear negotiations from bearing result. Now they have turned their focus onto this issue after their failed sabotage attempts, the Iranian official added.