Iran Suspends Some Nuclear Deal Pledges, Seeks Protection For Oil Trade

Jeannie Matthews
May 9, 2019

The new sanctions come on the one-year anniversary of Mr. Trump's announcement that he was withdrawing the US from the Iran nuclear deal, which he has called the "worst deal ever".

Iran threatened Wednesday to resume higher enrichment of uranium in 60 days if world powers fail to negotiate new terms for its 2015 nuclear deal a year after President Donald Trump withdrew from the accord, raising tensions as a US aircraft carrier and a bomber wing were deployed to confront unspecified threats from Tehran. It "will argue that Iran's moves support the administration's assertions that Iran is still trying to build a nuclear weapon - even if the specific steps that Iran takes, such as perhaps exceeding the limit on heavy water stockpiles, doesn't really bring it any closer to having a bomb". In the short term, Rouhani said Iran would stop exporting excess uranium and heavy water from its nuclear program. Tehran's energy, banking, and shipping sectors fell under USA sanctions in November 2018, following Washington's withdrawal from the nuclear deal one year ago, on 8 May 2018. "This surgery is for saving the deal, not destroying it".

The 2015 deal was signed between Iran, the U.S., Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany.

Before the U.S. moves, Iranian officials, including Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Hossein Baqeri, had warned against their consequences.

Israeli sources said May 8 that the pressure put by the U.S on Iran for not fulfilling the "nuclear deal" is prompting Teheran to "take aggressive action". He did not elaborate.

"The decision of the high security council to 'stop acting on some of the Islamic Republic of Iran's commitments under the JCPOA (nuclear deal)' was communicated to the heads of state of the countries" still party to the deal - Britain, China, France, Germany and Russian Federation, the ministry said. If that happened, the route to producing plutonium would be open once more.

Zarif separately issued his own warning from Moscow.

He did not specify which commitments Iran would stop implementing.

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The Trump administration says the nuclear deal, negotiated by his predecessor Barack Obama, was flawed as it is not permanent, does not address Iran's ballistic missile program and does not punish it for waging proxy wars in other Middle East countries. "We've made a decision different to the United Kingdom has regarding the JCPOA, but I am confident as we watch Iran's activity that we and our partners will continue to work together".

"The US is to blame for the situation and it makes it hard for both Iran to fulfil its obligations and. for the general state of the nuclear non-proliferation regime", Lavrov said after meeting his Iranian counterpart in Moscow.

Asked if there was a threat to the Baghdad government from Iran that raised U.S. concerns about Iraqi sovereignty, Pompeo said, "No, no, generally this has been our position since the national security strategy came out in the beginning of the Trump administration". She said that "we (Europeans) absolutely want to keep this agreement alive".

President Rouhani set a 60-day deadline for new terms to the 2015 nuclear accord on the anniversary of United States decision to withdraw from it.

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also assured that Israel will not let Iran attain nuclear weapons.

Iran has denied ever pursuing a nuclear weapons programme.

There was no immediate response from the U.S. government or on Trump's twitter feed. But American sanctions have wreaked havoc on Iran's already-anemic economy, while promised help from European partners in the deal haven't alleviated the pain. The agency did not immediately respond to a request for comment. They cited his decision to walk away from the deal and begin to impose new harsh sanctions against Iran, most recently limiting other countries that had begun to purchase its oil, and to designate one of Iran's principal military branches, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, as a terrorist organization.

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