International

Iran to unveil details on cuts to nuclear commitments

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Iran is set to detail its latest cut to commitments under a 2015 nuclear deal on Saturday, in response to US sanctions and perceived inaction by other parties to save the accord.

Iran’s atomic energy organisation spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi will hold a news conference on Tehran’s third round of cuts in its nuclear commitments since May, the semi-official ISNA news agency reported on Thursday.

Iran and three European countries — Britain, France and Germany — have been engaged in talks to reduce tensions and rescue the multi-party deal, which has been unravelling since the US withdrew in May last year.

But with no apparent agreement in sight, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani on Wednesday made good on a promise to take another step away from the deal between Iran and the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council powers, plus Germany (P5+1).

“The atomic energy organisation (of Iran) is ordered to immediately start whatever is needed in the field of research and development, and abandon all the commitments that were in place regarding research and development,” said Rouhani, without elaborating.

Iran’s arch-enemy Israel responded by calling for more international pressure on the Islamic republic.

“This is not the time to hold talks with Iran; this is the time to increase the pressure on Iran,” said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The EU on Thursday urged Iran to backtrack on moves to drop its commitments under the deal, known as the JCPOA.

“These activities we consider are inconsistent with the JCPOA,” said European Commission spokesman Carlos Martin Ruiz de Gordejuela.

“We urge Iran to reverse these steps and refrain from further measures that undermine the nuclear deal.”

French foreign ministry spokeswoman Agnes von der Muehll echoed this saying: “Iran must abstain from any concrete action that does not conform with its commitments (and which) could impede de-escalation moves.”

A senior US official on Wednesday ruled out any sanctions exemptions that would permit a French-proposed credit line, which Tehran says could bring it back to full compliance with the deal.

“We can’t make it any more clear that we are committed to this campaign of maximum pressure and we are not looking to grant any exceptions or waivers,” Brian Hook, the State Department coordinator on Iran, told reporters.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif responded by tweeting that the US Treasury was “nothing more than a JAIL WARDEN.”

AFP

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