Iran is now enriching MORE uranium than before the 2015 nuclear deal – President Rouhani

Iran has boosted its nuclear enrichment to levels not even seen before the JCPOA deal, President Hassan Rouhani has proclaimed, shortly after the Islamic Republic accused three European nations of “selling out” to the US.

“We are enriching more uranium [than] before the deal was reached ... Pressure has increased on Iran but we continue to progress,” Rouhani said in a televised address on Thursday.

Tehran is now bound by “no restrictions on nuclear energy,” Rouhani said, as Iran is “better off in terms of nuclear power.”

Under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) – the official name of the 2015 deal – Iran had agreed to enrich uranium only up to 3.67 percent, a process typical for fuel in commercial nuclear power plants, and to stockpile no more than 300kg of this material.

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Iran was meticulously sticking to the pact after the US unilaterally departed from it in May 2018, re-imposing economic sanctions and ratcheting up bellicose rhetoric against Iran, as International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) had repeatedly confirmed. On their part, France, Germany and the UK — the three European signatories colloquially known as the E3 — rejected to stick to Donald Trump's "maximum pressure" policy.

Later that year, Iran began to gradually be scale back its commitments, insisting that European signatories failed to do their part of the deal.

In January, Tehran vowed that it will move beyond all uranium enrichment limitations set out in the stalling accord. The dramatic decision was made in response to the assassination General Qassem Soleimani — one of Iran's most influential military leaders — in a US drone strike on Iraqi soil earlier in the month.

Iran to break uranium stockpile limit set by 2015 nuclear deal...

Upping the ante, the E3 claimed Iran has no legal grounds to do so, and triggered a clause allowing to scrutinize its compliance with the deal.

Rebuking the move by the trio, Tehran vowed "a firm response" if the Europeans' decision threaten the largely defunct accord. On the other hand, it said that throwing out enrichment limitations was based “on technical needs,” and that Iran isn’t after atomic weapons.

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China blames US for destroying nuclear deal with Iran

Beijing, Jan 6 (Prensa Latina) China said on Monday that the United States pushed Iran to abandon commitments on uranium enrichment by unilaterally withdrawing from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in 2018.

Geng Shuang, spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, noted in a press conference that with that step, Washington not only ignored international laws and obligations, but also opted to exert maximum pressure and obstruct the efforts of the other signatories of the deal to maintain it.

He stressed that despite the hostile stance of the White House, Tehran refrained from making the situation worse and showed the political will to effectively resolve the dispute.

Shuang considered it prudent to take into account all such elements before proceeding with an analysis of the issue, to ensure that any response is rational, measured, without interference and aimed at finding a political solution.

He also emphasized that China opposes the use of force in international relations such as the recent US maneuvers in Baghdad, where Iranian General Qasem Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, deputy commander of the Iraqi militia, were assassinated.

He deplored US plans to destroy 52 Iranian sites, if the Islamic Republic responds with attacks following the death of the senior officer.

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Iran nuclear deal signatories reiterate commitment to pact

United Nations, Sep 26 (Prensa Latina) Iran and the parties to the nuclear deal signed in 2015 agreed to maintain efforts to preserve that pact, considered a milestone of international relations.

During a meeting here this Thursday, cited by international media, there was consensus among representatives of the Islamic Republic, Germany, France, China, the United Kingdom and Russia, plus the head of foreign policy of the European Union (EU), regarding the need to maintain the pact.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Yavad Zarif described as positive the extraordinary meeting between foreign ministers of signatory nations of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

Federica Mogherini, head of EU foreign policy, assured that all parties are committed to preserving the pact, although this is increasingly difficult.

According to Mogherini, France, Britain, Germany, Russia, China and Iran agreed to continue efforts to keep the treaty alive, from which the United States withdrew in May 2018 at the behest of President Donald Trump.

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Iran urges US to abandon ‘warmongering’ policy as arch-hawk Bolton leaves White House

Washington should give up its policy of aggression toward Tehran, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has said. His remarks come hours after outspoken regime-change connoisseur John Bolton stepped down as national security adviser.

During a cabinet meeting on Wednesday, Rouhani pressed the US to “abandon warmongering and its maximum pressure policy” on Iran, and warned that failing to reverse course would further degrade Tehran’s commitments under the 2015 nuclear deal.

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif made similar calls for a US policy U-turn, tweeting on Wednesday that Washington’s “thirst for war” should end with the departure of its “warmonger-in-chief” Bolton.

A government spokesman said after the cabinet meeting that Bolton’s departure could help US policymakers have a “less biased” attitude toward the Islamic republic. Tehran stressed, however, that Bolton’s removal would not change its position on dialogue with Washington.

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“The departure of US National Security Advisor John Bolton from President Donald Trump’s administration will not push Iran to reconsider talking with the US,” Tehran’s United Nations envoy Majid Takhteravanchi said.

US President Donald Trump announced Bolton’s dismissal on Tuesday, tweeting that he had “disagreed strongly with many of his suggestions.” Bolton claims that he’d actually resigned before Trump’s announcement.

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Iran will give Europe two months to save nuclear deal - Rouhani

Europe has two months to negotiate sanctions relief for Tehran, otherwise the country will initiate ‘phase three’ in its rollback of commitments under the 2015 nuclear deal, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has said.

“Europe has another two-month deadline for negotiations, agreement, and a return to its commitments,” Rouhani warned at a cabinet meeting on Wednesday.

Tehran has been calling on the EU to provide relief from the sweeping sanctions that were imposed by Washington after the US unilaterally left the 2015 deal, known as the JCPOA. Iranian officials have warned that they will gradually reduce their commitments under the agreement if this does not happen.

In early July, Iran activated the ‘first phase’ of this strategy by increasing its stockpile of enriched uranium beyond the 300kg limit imposed by the JCPOA. The ‘second phase’ – enriching uranium beyond 3.67 percent – was effected shortly afterwards.

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Rouhani didn’t specify what the next step would be, but he hinted that it would play an important part in transforming the nation’s nuclear program.

“The third step is of an extremely important nature, and will considerably accelerate the activities of the country’s nuclear energy organization,” he said.

Rouhani stressed that the impact of the move “will be extraordinarily huge.”

France previously suggested offering Iran $15 billion in credit lines if it returns to complying with the JCPOA in its entirety. The move would help Iran to negate US sanctions, which have targeted its oil trade and financial sector. Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi confirmed that the country would revert to the agreement if the EU continues to buy oil from Iran or provides a suitable credit line.

Washington insists that sanctions are necessary to pressure Iran into shutting down its nuclear and ballistic missile programs, as well as cutting ties with several militant groups in the Middle East. Tehran, however, denies any wrongdoing and says the sanctions are unjustified and illegal under international law.

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Iranian president says U.S. has failed on every path taken against the Islamic Revolution

Tehran, July 14 (RHC)-- Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says the United States has failed on every path it has taken against Iran.  President Rouhani told a large crowd of people in the northeastern city of Shirvan, in North Khorasan Province, that whatever Washington had tried against Iran -- including “the harshest of sanctions” -- had wound up in failure.

“It’s been 14 months that the world’s largest economic and military power has been imposing the harshest of sanctions against the Iranian nation, sanctions that would have taken any other nation down,” the Iranian president said. “But the heroic, vigilant, and resistant nation of Islamic Iran has firmly withstood those sanctions over this period.”

“Whatever path the Americans took — be it social, political, and legal — led to failure,” President Rouhani said.  He pointed to recent meetings of the United Nations and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), where the U.S. failed to advance its agenda against Iran.

Iran says the UN nuclear watchdog’s special meeting held at Washington’s request backfired and turned into another failure for Americans.

Last year, U.S. President Donald Trump unilaterally pulled his country out of a 2015 multilateral nuclear deal with Iran and imposed what he called the “toughest ever” sanctions against Tehran, notably targeting its energy sector.

Those sanctions have hurt the Iranian economy, but all of the other parties to the Iran deal, which have stayed in the agreement, have been holding meetings with Tehran to discuss how they can make the pact properly work for the Iranian side as well.

Tehran has said it would potentially scrap the deal if its partners failed to do enough for Iran to achieve the economic benefits that it is promised under the agreement.

Edited by Ed Newman
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Trump says he would ‘certainly’ go to war with Iran ‘over nuclear weapons’, but not right now

US President Donald Trump said he would consider military action against Iran to prevent it from getting nuclear weapons. The row between Tehran and Washington escalated after the US accused Iran of attacking two oil tankers.

“I would certainly go over nuclear weapons,” Trump told Time Magazine on Tuesday when asked what would make him consider declaring war on Iran. “And I would keep the other a question mark.”

The report did not specify whether the president elaborated on the scenario of launching a full-fledged armed conflict with the Islamic Republic over its nuclear program. When a reporter asked Trump if he was considering military action against Iran right now, he replied: “I wouldn’t say that. I can’t say that at all.”

His remarks came a day after the Pentagon said that it will deploy 1,000 extra troops to the Middle East “for defensive purposes.” The US blamed Iran for the attack on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman. Washington released a grainy video, allegedly showing Iranian sailors removing a limpet mine from one of ship’s hull, but did not provide any other evidence to support its case. Tehran rebuffed the allegations, saying that it had nothing to do with the incidents.

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Also on Tuesday, Iran announced that, in just 10 days, it would increase its uranium stockpiles beyond the limits allowed under the 2015 nuclear deal, known as the JCPOA. The US pulled out of the agreement last year and re-imposed sanctions on Iran. Officials in Tehran say they will return to full compliance with the deal if the EU, another signatory of the agreement, reaffirms its commitments.

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Tehran rejects Macron’s call for wider intl talks beyond nuclear deal – ministry

Iran rejected French calls for wider international talks over its nuclear and military ambitions, according to a state TV report.

President Emmanuel Macron had said the previous day that Paris and Washington both wanted to stop Tehran getting nuclear arms and new talks should focus on curbing its ballistic missiles program.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry said on Friday it would not hold any discussions beyond the 2015 pact which US President Donald Trump abandoned last year. “Talking about issues beyond the deal… will lead to further mistrust among the remaining signatories of the deal,” Reuters quoted Foreign Ministry spokesperson Abbas Mousavi as saying.

“The Europeans have so far failed to fulfill their commitments under the deal and… to protect Iran’s interests after America’s illegal withdrawal,” Mousavi added.

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