International Affairs

Iran’s Rouhani announces another break from nuclear deal

Iran’s president announced on Tuesday that Tehran will begin injecting uranium gas into 1,044 centrifuges, the latest step away from its nuclear deal with world powers

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani

Iran will take a new step in reducing commitments to a landmark 2015 nuclear deal on Wednesday by injecting gas into 1,044 centrifuges at its Fordow plant, President Hassan Rouhani said on Tuesday in a speech broadcast live on state TV.

All of the steps Iran has taken to reduce its commitments to the nuclear deal are reversible and Iran will uphold all of its commitments under the deal when the remaining signatories – France, Britain, Germany, Russia and China – do the same, Rouhani said.

“We know their sensitivity with regard to Fordow. With regard to these centrifuges, we know. But at the same time when they uphold their commitments we will cut off the gas again…So it is possible to reverse this step,” Rouhani said. “We can’t unilaterally accept that we completely fulfill our commitments and they don’t follow up on their commitments.”

Under the terms of the deal the Islamic Republic is allowed to spin the centrifuges at Fordow without injecting gas, Rouhani said.

Iran said on Monday it had launched a new batch of advanced centrifuges to accelerate uranium enrichment, further reducing compliance with the deal following the withdrawal of its arch-foe the United States.

Iran has gradually shed commitments made under the deal with world powers since being hit with renewed U.S. sanctions last year that have crippled its oil exports.

Iran’s reduction of its commitments further complicates the chances of saving the accord for the European signatories, who have criticized U.S. President Donald Trump for exiting it.

Tehran, however, has left room for diplomacy by saying that talks are possible if Washington lifts all the sanctions and itself returns to the nuclear deal.

Iran needs to be able to sell its oil and use its banking system without restrictions, Rouhani said.

There was no immediate reaction from the International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog now monitoring Iran’s compliance with the deal.

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