Iran takes next step away from nuclear deal | News | DW | 05.11.2019
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Iran takes next step away from nuclear deal

The Iranian president has announced his decision to violate another part of the 2015 nuclear deal by potentially enriching uranium at a new site. During his speech, he said it was an "honor" to resist the US.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Tuesday said his country would begin injecting uranium gas into more than 1,000 centrifuges, marking another break with its commitments under the 2015 nuclear deal(JCPOA).

Rouhani said he would instruct Iran's nuclear authority to begin injecting uranium gas into the centrifuges as of Wednesday.

"As of tomorrow, we will begin feeding gas into centrifuges at Fordo nuclear facility," Rouhani said during a press conference at an innovation factory. "Resistance is our honor."

The announcement comes a day after the head of Iran's nuclear energy program said the country had doubled the number of advanced centrifuges in operation.

The president noted that the latest violations of the deal could be reversed at any time.

"When other parties begin fully implementing their commitments, we will turn back and begin fully abiding by our commitments," Rouhani said. "We know their sensitivity with regard to Fordo."

Under the nuclear deal, the Fordo centrifuges were allowed to spin without uranium gas. A centrifuge enriches uranium by spinning uranium hexafluoride gas to separate uranium isotope U-235 for nuclear fission.

Read more: Iran nuclear-deal crisis: Is war with the US ahead?

Infographic outlining restrictions on Iran's nuclear program under the 2015 nuclear accord

'Unacceptable'

Last year, the US unilaterally withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal, casting doubt over other signatories' ability to maintain the accord. The agreement established a framework under which Iran would curb its nuclear program in exchange for Western countries dropping paralyzing sanctions.

EU member states, including Germany and France, have called on Iran to stick to the deal despite the US withdrawal. But Tehran has continued to steadily erode the deal by taking incremental steps towards violating its commitments.

Germany has urged the Islamic republic to adhere to its commitments, with officials calling the latest set of violations a mistake. "They announced in early September that they would not comply with the nuclear accord and we think that is unacceptable," said German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas.

EU concern

The European Commission reacted with dismay over Iran's latest move saying it puts the agreement at risk.

"We are concerned by President (Hassan) Rouhani's announcement today to further reduce Iran's commitment under the
Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action," a spokeswoman said, referring to the formal title of the deal.

"We urge Iran to reverse all activities that are inconsistent with its commitments under the JCPOA ... it is increasingly difficult to preserve the JCPOA."

France: Iran's actions further erode accord

France said it remains committed to the JCPOA but wants Tehran to reverse its latest decision.

"The announcement by Iran on November 5 to increase its enrichment capacity goes against the Vienna agreement, which strictly limits activities in this area," foreign ministry spokeswoman Agnes von der Mühll told reporters. "We are waiting with our partners for the next IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) reports on Iran's announcements and actions."

Echoing the European Commission's sentiments she urged Iran to "fully adhere to its obligations and to cooperate fully with the IAEA, both in JCPOA and its other nuclear obligations."

Read more: US policy spreads gloom in Iran

ls,jsi/rt (Reuters, AP)

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