Iran’s third nuclear deal step a response to new US sanction, EU’s inability: Russian official

TEHRAN, Sep. 07 (MNA) – Regarding to Iran’s action in reducing commitments under the JCPOA, Russian State Duma’s (lower house) Foreign Affairs Committee Leonid Slutsky said on Friday that was “a response to new US anti-Iran sanctions and the EU’s inability to launch the promised financial mechanism to bypass them”.

“Russia has always been committed to the implementation of the JCPOA by all parties. For our part, we will push ahead with efforts to preserve the Iran deal at various levels, including the parliamentary one, and draft a working mechanism to salvage it,” TASS quoted him as saying in a post on his Telegram channel.

He also said that Washington is trying to force Iran to abandon the nuclear deal and push the European Union towards reimposing sanctions.

“The United States is pursuing an obvious objective: to force Iran to abandon the nuclear deal altogether and therefore pushes Europeans towards restoring the anti-Iran package of restrictive measures under US control. The White House hopes to achieve a regime change in Tehran by reimposing the US and EU sanctions, strengthening Iran’s political isolation and whipping up tensions in the Persian Gulf region in general,” he said.

He also said that Washington’s willingness to hold talks with Iran should not be taken seriously. 

“Unlike North Korea, Iran has neither nuclear weapons nor missiles capable of reaching US territory. So, the only direct dialogue with Tehran that Washington could foster is unconditional surrender [under the US scenario],” he said.

Commenting on Iran’s action in reducing commitments under the JCPOA, Slutsky said that was “a response to new US anti-Iran sanctions and the EU’s inability to launch the promised financial mechanism to bypass them and compensate for losses from Washington’s policy to reduce Iranian oil exports to zero.”

On Thursday, President Hassan Rouhani said Iran is taking the third step of reducing its commitments under the nuclear deal. According to Rouhani, the new step removes limits on nuclear research and development (R&D).

Iran officially started on Friday the third step in reducing its commitments to the 2015 nuclear deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the spokesman of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Behrouz Kamalvandi  said on Saturday, September 7.

He said under the third step, the agency activated 20 IR-4 and 20 IR-6 centrifuges on Friday.

In a letter to the EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini on Thursday, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Iran will begin unlimited nuclear research and development work from Friday, officially unleashing the third stage of its measured responses to Europe's lack of action in the face of Washington's violation of the nuclear deal.

Zarif's letter came after Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Wednesday that the country will expand its nuclear research and development as of September 6, setting aside the restrictions imposed on the country's research and development (R&D) in the JCPOA.

Iran is further scaling back its commitments under the JCPOA due to the inability of its three European signatories -- the UK, France and Germany -- to meet their end of the bargain.

Upon announcing his withdrawal from the JCPOA, US President Trump called it the "worst deal ever" and pledged to force Iran through sanctions into renegotiating a new agreement that addresses its ballistic missiles and regional influence.

The Trump administration has ever since targeted Iran's industry and oil exports with various sanctions in a bid to cripple its economy.

Wary of possible penalties, Europe has failed to deliver on its pledge to save mutual trade by enacting a special payment channel that protects European firms from US sanctions months after unveiling it in January.

Fed up with the foot-dragging, Iran announced the first stage of its countermeasures in May by increasing its enriched uranium stockpile to beyond the 300-kilogram cap set by the agreement.

The Islamic Republic took the second step two months later, when it started to enrich uranium to purity rates beyond the JCPOA limit of 3.76 percent.

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