Iran says it will take ‘stronger step’ away from nuclear deal if Europe doesn’t act

DUBAI (Reuters) – Iran is prepared to take a “stronger step” in reducing its commitments under the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers if European countries don’t take action to save the pact, its foreign ministry’s spokesman said on Monday.FILE PHOTO: The Iranian flag flutters in front the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) headquarters in Vienna, Austria July 10, 2019. REUTERS/Lisi Niesner

Iran has said it will breach the deal’s limits on its nuclear activities one by one, ratcheting up pressure on the countries who still hope to save it. Tehran has threatened to take further steps by Sept. 6, such as enriching to 20% or restarting mothballed centrifuges, machines that enrich uranium.

“Iran is prepared for reducing its commitments if the European parties do not show enough determination… The third step has been designed and will be stronger than the first and second steps to create balance between Iran’s rights and commitments to the JCPOA,” state news agency IRNA quoted spokesman Abbas Mousavi as saying.

Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Political Affairs Abbas Araghchi is heading to Paris to hold talks with French officials about the deal.

Also, Iran’s government spokesman said on Monday that Iran and France’s views on the deal have moved closer, mainly after phone calls between President Hassan Rouhani and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron.

“Fortunately the points of views have become closer on many issues and now technical discussions are being held on ways to carry out the Europeans’ commitments (in the nuclear deal),” the spokesman, Ali Rabiei, said in remarks carried by state television. He did not go into details.

But Rabiei warned: “If Tehran’s satisfaction has not been guaranteed about the realizations of commitments (by Europe) by the set deadline, we will take a strong step to reduce commitments.”

U.S. President Donald Trump last year unilaterally pulled his country out of the 2015 accord between Iran and six world powers aimed at curbing Tehran’s nuclear program. Washington has also reimposed sanctions on exports of Iranian oil.

Two Iranian officials and one diplomat told Reuters on Aug. 25 that Iran wants to export a minimum of 700,000 barrels per day of its oil and ideally up to 1.5 million bpd if the West wants to negotiate with Tehran to save the nuclear deal.

“Iran’s oil should be purchased and its money accessible,” Rabiei said on Monday.

Iran’s oil exports have plummeted because of the U.S. sanctions, which also make it difficult for the country to receive payments through banks.

Source: Reuters