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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Iran's 3rd nuclear step in response to EU's passivity

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Tehran, Sept 4, IRNA -- Iran says it has finalized the details of the third step to reduce its commitments under the 2015 nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and that the details will be announced by tomorrow.

"I think it is unlikely that we will reach a result with Europe by today or tomorrow," President Hassan Rouhani said during a weekly cabinet session on Wednesday.

The president noted that Iran's next moves to scale down its nuclear commitments will have "extraordinary" effects. "The third step will be the most important one and it will have extraordinary effects," Rouhani said.

"Europe will have another two-month time to fulfill its commitments," he added.

Meanwhile, Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has warned that Tehran would further cut its commitments under the nuclear accord unless European states acted to save the pact by Thursday, but that this did not mean the "end of talks".

France has proposed offering Iran about $15 bn in credit lines until year-end if Tehran comes fully back into compliance with the deal.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said talks on the credit arrangement, which would be guaranteed by Iranian oil revenues, were continuing, but approval from the United States would be crucial.

The idea is "to exchange a credit line guaranteed by oil in return for, one, a return to the JCPOA ... and two, security in the Persian Gulf and the opening of negotiations on regional security and a post-2025 (nuclear program)," Le Drian told reporters.

Le Drian added that there was still "lots to work out" and that negotiations were "still very fragile".

Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi confirmed that Tehran would return to its commitments under the deal only if it got $15 bn for oil sales over four months.

"Our return to the full implementation of the nuclear accord is subject to the receipt of $15 bn over a four-month period, otherwise the process of reducing Iran's commitments will continue," Araqchi said.

European leaders have struggled to de-escalate tensions between Tehran and Washington since US President Donald Trump pulled out of the nuclear deal. The US withdrew from the deal in 2018 and reimposed sanctions on oil - steps that signatories to the accord strongly opposed.

In response, Iran reduced some of the limits on nuclear material in the deal. Back in July, Iran declared the second step to scale down its commitments by ramping up the level of uranium enrichment to over 3.67 percent.

French President Emmanuel Macron has recently tried to create conditions that would bring the sides back to the negotiating table.

But President Rouhani noted that Iran would never hold bilateral talks with the United States. However, if all US curbs imposed on Iran were lifted, Washington could join multilateral talks between Tehran and the other parties to the 2015 pact.

Iranian officials maintain that the new measures to further cut the Islamic Republic's commitment under the JCPOA are not designed to harm the nuclear deal, but to save the accord by creating a balance in the commitments.


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