Saturday, 08 August, 2020

Iran will continue nuclear program based on terms agreed with IAEA: Deputy foreign minister

The Islamic Republic will continue its peaceful nuclear program according to the terms of agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) since Tehran sees the peaceful use of nuclear energy as an inalienable right of the nation, says a senior Foreign Ministry official.

“We will go on with our peaceful nuclear program according to the rules and regulations set and agreed upon with the IAEA,” Deputy Foreign Minister for Political Affairs Abbas Araqchi wrote in an article for a Polish periodical.

Iran, he said, has taken steps to reduce its commitments under a landmark 2015 nuclear deal with six world powers, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), but is ready “to restore all those commitments anytime that our interests are met within the framework of the JCPOA.”

President Donald Trump of the United States, a hawkish critic of the historic deal, unilaterally withdrew Washington from the agreement in May 2018, and unleashed the “toughest ever” sanctions against the Islamic Republic in defiance of global criticism.

In response, Tehran has so far rowed back on its nuclear commitments four times in compliance with articles 26 and 36 of the JCPOA, stressing, however, that its retaliatory measures will be reversible as soon as Europe finds practical ways to shield the mutual trade from the US sanctions.

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.

In the third phase, after the Europeans failed to meet a 60-day deadline to meet Iran’s demands and fulfill their commitments under the deal, Iran started up advanced centrifuges to boost the country’s stockpile of enriched uranium and activated 20 IR-4 and 20 IR-6 centrifuges for research and development purposes.

In November last year, Iran began injecting gas into centrifuges at the Fordow plant as part of its fourth step away from the JCPOA under the supervision of the IAEA.

The Iranian government in January issued a statement announcing its decision to take the fifth and final step in reducing its commitments under the JCPOA.

Elsewhere in his article, Araqchi once again reiterated that the peaceful use of nuclear energy is an “inalienable” right of the Iranian nation, adding, “We will never give in this right to Washington’s bullying.”

“Despite the heavy costs of sanctions [imposed on Iran to stymie its nuclear program], we are responsible vis-à-vis the next generations in a way that we cannot accept bullying and hegemony of bullying powers,” Iran’s deputy foreign minister said.

The United States has violated all commitments under the deal and completely disregarded the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231, which upholds the accord, Araqchi said.

He warned that if such a trend continues, it would strengthen rogue behavior within international relations and in the face of principles therein.

“Iran has never had and will never have any doubt in its march toward obtaining nuclear capability for peaceful purposes in order to boost the country’s national development,” the senior diplomat stated.

He emphasized that Iran has always fulfilled all its commitments under the JCPOA since the conclusion and start of the implementation of the deal and even after the US withdrawal from it.

Araqchi noted that the IAEA has verified Iran’s compliance with its commitments in 15 consecutive and regular reports, saying that all the agency’s documents showed in detail the Islamic Republic’s accurate and complete fulfillment of its undertakings.

On the anniversary of the nuclear deal earlier this month, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif drew attention to the unilateral withdrawal. He said Washington’s “contempt for law and diplomacy” poses a security threat both to America itself and the entire world.

Zarif described the JCPOA as “last decade’s greatest diplomatic achievement” and said the occasion also is a “reminder that US lawless behavior should not be the yardstick by which int’l norms are measured.”

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