Third nuclear step remains on agenda under current situation: Zarif

TEHRAN, Aug. 03 (MNA) – Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says Iran will take the third step in reducing its commitments to the 2015 nuclear deal under the current situation, as the other parties to the deal have shown inaction in preserving the pact.

“We have said that if the other parties to the JCPOA do not completely fulfill their obligations, we will comply with the deal partially though all our measures have [so far] been within the JCPOA’s framework,” Zarif told ICANA on Saturday.

The top diplomat said, under the current situation, the third step to reduce commitments will remain on the agenda, stressing that “only Iran” has the right to decide on upholding or deferring such a decision.

All the member states of the JCPOA commission have reached a consensus that the United States has made all the tensions, while Iran’s demands have been clear since the very first day and Tehran’s expectations have never surpassed those mentioned in the deal, he added.

Zarif’s remarks came days after representatives of the JCPOA signatories -- the UK, France, China, Russia and Germany -- held an extraordinary meeting of the JCPOA Joint Commission in Vienna to discuss the future of the landmark accord over a year after US President Donald Trump withdrew from it.

Ever since quitting the deal in May 2018, Trump has tried to block trade between Iranian and European companies by imposing sanctions that target a wide range of Iranian exports, including its crude oil.

The European signatories of the deal have refused to follow Trump’s suit and said they would try to salvage the deal by protecting European businesses through a special payment channel, called INSTEX.

Months after unveiling their solution to the sanctions, however, Iran has yet to see any real benefits.

Frustrated with Europe’s inaction in the face of US pressure, Iran began to reduce its JCPOA commitments earlier this year, using the mechanisms defined in the deal.

Tehran issued its first 60-day ultimatum to Europeans in May. After that, as a first step Iran increased its enriched uranium stockpile to beyond the 300 kilograms set by the JCPOA.

In the second step, Tehran began enriching uranium to purity rates beyond the JCPOA-limit of 3.76 percent.

MNA/IRN83422162

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