Kamalvandi: Tehran's next option is 20% uranium enrichment

Erika Holt
July 11, 2019

All Iran's nuclear activities are monitored by the United Nations atomic watchdog policing its nuclear deal with major powers, its ambassador to the watchdog said on Wednesday, after US President Donald Trump said it was secretly enriching uranium.

Meanwhile, President Rouhani has stressed that the reductions to the JCPOA commitments can be reversed once the European signatories to the deal live up to their commitments.

Mousavi said, "Despite taking such position by Iran, doors to diplomacy are still open".

"Iran's current nuclear posture is clearly aimed at escalating tensions rather than defusing them, and underscores the serious challenges Iran continues to pose to worldwide peace and security", she said.

A meeting with Rear-Admiral Ali Shamkhani, secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, is planned for Wednesday morning.

The Trump administration says it is open to negotiations with Iran on a more far-reaching agreement on nuclear and security issues. Tehran last week confirmed it had exceeded the limit and has been begun enriching at 5 percent, which is still far from the 90 percent needed for nuclear weapons.

The issue had also been raised in Iranian President Hassan Rouhani's letter to P4+1 and in officials' remarks and statements, he said. Any country on the board can call a meeting under International Atomic Energy Agency rules.

Tehran appears to have lost patience with the European countries in seeking relief from the US sanctions.

President Trump announced Wednesday that he will add to existing sanctions on Iran, after the Islamic republic admitted Monday that it surpassed uranium enrichment levels that were set by the Iran Nuclear Agreement in 2015.

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US President Donald Trump underscored the comments later, tweeting that the nuclear deal was "terrible" and threatening that "sanctions will soon be increased, substantially!"

The next day, its atomic energy agency announced that it was enriching uranium to 4.5 percent.

Having warned Iran against breaching the deal, the Europeans on Tuesday expressed "deep concern" about Iran's actions, but stopped short of initiating a process that could lead to the re-imposition of sanctions lifted under the 2015 deal.

The United States is urging world powers party to the nuclear deal with Iran not to give in to Iran's demands by providing new economic incentives to get it to backstep its recent escalation of its atomic program.

However, it became clear that this was no simple task, and Iran - whose economy depends heavily on oil exports - changed tack and indicated it would reshape its policy of "strategic patience".

Officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) it was signed by Iran, the five countries of the UNSC (the U.S., the U.K., France, China and Russia), Germany and the EU.

Iranian news agency IRNA also quoted Mousavi as saying that he has heard about the "freeze against freeze" plan but did not elaborate. Iran denies any involvement in the attacks on the tankers and says the drone had veered into its airspace.

"I warn England that you are the initiator of insecurity in seas and you will later understand its repercussions", Rouhani stated, adding that British forces had seized the vessel "unjustly", claiming that the USA had, in fact, seized the tanker "by proxy" through its ally. The autonomous British territory of Gibraltar is conducting an investigation into whether the Grace 1 tankerwas illegally bringing oil from Iran to Syria, in violation of European Union sanctions against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

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