President Hassan Rouhani (R) and the head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization Ali Akbar Salehi inspecting a nuclear plant, Tehran, April 9, 2019
UPDATE, 0810 GMT: President Hassan Rouhani has stepped up the warning to European powers to support Iran, saying Iran will increase its uranium enrichment to “any amount that we want” from Sunday.
Speaking at a Cabinet meeting, Rouhani said, “In any amount that we want, any amount that is required, we will take over 3.67,” Rouhani said.
Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says Tehran will observe the 2015 nuclear deal — provided Europe gives support to the Islamic Republic.
On Monday, Zarif confirmed that Iran has suspended part of its commitments under the agreement with the remaining 5+1 Powers (UK, France, Germany, China, and Russia), by exceeding the limit on low-grade enriched uranium. He indicated that, if Iran did not get satisfaction over political and economic arrangements, it may move to resumption of uranium beyond 3-67% — possibly the 20% grade that Iran produced before the nuclear deal.
Yesterday he tweeted:
Iran is committed to the full implementation of the #JCPOA: as long as E3/EU implement THEIR economic commitments.
So moving forward, Iran will comply with its commitments under the JCPOA in exactly the same manner as the EU/E3 have—and will—comply with theirs.
— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) July 2, 2019
Zarif did not spell out the European “commitments”, but Iranian officials have tied a continued deal to European links bolstering Tehran’s troubled economy.
The European Union launched a Special Purpose Vehicle in February for limited non-dollar trade in Iranian oil and other commodities and goods. Tehran rejected the mechanism because of “humiliating conditions” such as the EU’s concern over Iran’s missile program, activities in the Middle East, and alleged involvement in assassination and bomb plots in Europe.
After talks in Vienna last Friday, Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi said talks were “still not enough and not meeting Iran’s expectations”.
The EU’s foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and the Foreign Ministers of France, Germany, and the UK said in a joint statement on Tuesday, before Zarif’s challenge:
We urge Iran to reverse this step and to refrain from further measures that undermine the nuclear deal.
We have been consistent and clear that our commitment to the nuclear deal depends on full compliance by Iran.
Tehran has pressed for European backing since Donald Trump withdrew from the nuclear deal in May 2018, and the US imposed comprehensive sanctions from November, tightening them this spring.