Iran to take third nuclear step if no progress seen in EU talks: Official

Tasnim – Iranian President’s Chief of Staff Mahmoud Vaezi said if no progress is seen in the upcoming talks with the European parties to the 2015 nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Tehran will certainly take the third step in reducing nuclear commitments.

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a cabinet session in Tehran on Wednesday, Vaezi pointed to recent visits to France by Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and said the president, the administration and the foreign minister are trying to use all means so that the anti-Iran sanctions are lifted.

“What we have been pursuing (in talks) with France in the past few weeks, especially past few days, is to restore Iran’s rights (mentioned) in the JCPOA and remove the cruel sanctions imposed by the US,” he added.

“If no progress is seen in the upcoming negotiations, taking the third step to reduce JCPOA commitments by the admiration will be certain,” Vaezi stated.

Last month, Iran declared the second step to reduce its commitments by ramping up the level of uranium enrichment to over 3.67 percent.

Iran maintains that the new measures are not designed to harm the nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), but to save the accord by creating a balance in the commitments.

Iran and the Group 5+1 (Russia, China, US, Britain, France, and Germany) on July 14, 2015, reached a conclusion over the text of the JCPOA.

The accord took effect in January 2016 and was supposed to terminate all nuclear-related sanctions against Iran all at once, but its implementation was hampered by the US policies and its eventual withdrawal from the deal.

On May 8, 2018, US President Donald Trump pulled his country out of the nuclear accord.

Following the US withdrawal, Iran and the remaining parties launched talks to save the deal.

However, the EU’s failure to ensure Iran’s economic interests forced Tehran to stop honoring certain commitments, including an unlimited rise in the stockpile of enriched uranium.

Spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Behrouz Kamalvandi recently said that the country’s enriched uranium stockpile has reached 360 to 370 kilograms.