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5 Jan, 2020 18:28

Enrichment based on technical needs: Iran rolls back on 2015 nuclear deal

Enrichment based on technical needs: Iran rolls back on 2015 nuclear deal

Tehran has removed the last constraints it agreed to impose on its nuclear program under the 2015 deal but said it is ready to return to fulfilling its obligations under the agreement if the US lifts sanctions.

Iran’s nuclear program “no longer faces any operating restrictions,” a government statement cited by Iranian media said, adding that parameters of enrichment capacity, enrichment level and the amount of enriched material would from now on be determined only by the program’s “technical needs.”

Tehran still vowed to continue its cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and said that it could potentially return to fulfilling its obligations under the nuclear deal if sanctions imposed by Washington are lifted and Tehran’s interests are respected.

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The move marks the fifth and the final step in Tehran’s gradual scaling down of its commitments under the deal. The measure was taken in response to America’s unilateral exit from the agreement last year, which was followed by its reissuing of crippling sanctions against Iran.

Washington’s European allies desperately sought to preserve the deal struck in 2015 between Iran, France, Germany, the UK and the US, as well as Russia and China. Europe even attempted to create a special-purpose vehicle called INSTEX, intended to help European companies trade with Iran without fear of repercussions in the form of sanctions from across the Atlantic.

It turned out to be not particularly effective, however, as the European companies appeared to be in no rush to trade with Iran through fear of losing American market. Tehran repeatedly criticized Europe for failing to fulfil its commitments under the accord.

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It’s high time for Europe to make itself clear on the matter and either side with Washington, or make a decisive push to salvage the beleaguered deal, Ammar Waqqaf, Middle East analyst, told RT.

“Iran is now pushing Europe towards the edge in terms of having either rescue the nuclear deal and part ways with America, or probably ditch the deal altogether, but it won’t be an Iranian call, it would probably be a European call,” Waqqaf said, arguing that Europeans “have to act now.”

Despite the current flare-up, Tehran leaves the door open for compromise and the ball is now in the US court, he said. “We are still hearing voices coming out from Tehran saying “guys, we are happy to de-escalate and call it off should you lift sanctions.”

The tensions between Iran and the US can spiral into a military conflict, considering the both countries “are on the edge, both have capabilities, and both of them can hurt each other,” Ahmed Rushdi, President of House of Iraqi Expertise Foundation noted, expressing hope that Tehran "won't take a harsh decision" and would pursue a “balanced” approach in handling the crisis.

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