Iran’s nuclear energy agency director Ali Akbar Salehi speaks during a news conference with UN nuclear watchdog (IAEA) acting head Cornel Feruta, in Tehran, Iran, 8 September – PR of IAEO (Iran’s Atomic Energy Organisation)/WANA (West Asia News Agency) via Reuters
DUBAI (Reuters): Iran’s nuclear chief said yesterday the European parties to the 2015 nuclear deal have failed to fulfil their commitments under the pact, a day after Tehran announced further breaches of limits on its nuclear activity set by the accord.
The deal curbed Iran’s disputed nuclear program in exchange for relief from sanctions, but has unravelled since the US withdrew last year and acted to strangle Iran’s oil exports to push it into a broader security agreement.
France, Germany and Britain have tried to launch a barter trade mechanism with Iran protecting it from US sanctions but have struggled to get it off the ground, and Tehran on Wednesday set a 60-day deadline for effective European action. “Unfortunately the European parties have failed to fulfil their commitments... The deal is not a one-way street and Iran will act accordingly as we have done so far by gradually downgrading our commitments,” said Ali Akbar Salehi, director of Iran’s nuclear energy agency. “Iran will continue to reduce its nuclear commitments as long as the other parties fail to carry out their commitments,” Salehi said, speaking after meeting the acting head of the UN nuclear watchdog (IAEA), Cornel Feruta, in Tehran yesterday.
Feruta, whose inspectors monitor Tehran’s nuclear program, also met Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif who told him that Iran’s breaches were permitted under Paragraph 36 of the nuclear accord, the semi-official Fars news agency reported.
Paragraph 36 of the nuclear pact spells out the dispute resolution mechanism.
“(Zarif) underscored the need for the agency (IAEA) to respect professional principles, maintain confidentiality, and carry out its duties impartially,” the official Iranian news agency IRNA reported.
Iranian officials say the paragraph allows one party to the deal to cut its commitments if others do not live up to theirs.
Iran says its retreat from terms of the deal is reversible if European signatories manage to restore its access to foreign trade promised under the nuclear deal but blocked by the re-imposition of US sanctions.
Feruta stressed that the IAEA’s safeguards activities are conducted in an impartial, independent and objective manner, and in accordance with standard safeguards practices, according to a press release on the IAEA website. The IAEA’s 35-nation Board of Governors will discuss Iran at a quarterly meeting that begins today.
Since May, Iran has begun to breach caps on its nuclear capacity set by the deal in retaliation for US pressure on Iran to negotiate restrictions on its ballistic missile program and support for proxy forces around the Middle East.