|[Published: Thursday May 09 2019]
Europeans reject Iran 'ultimatums'
BRUSSELS 9 May (ANA) - European powers have said they remain committed to the Iran nuclear deal but that they "reject any ultimatums" from Tehran to prevent its collapse.
Iran announced on Wednesday that it had suspended two commitments under the 2015 accord in response to the economic sanctions the US reimposed last year.
It also threatened to step up uranium enrichment if it was not shielded from the sanctions' effects within 60 days.
The EU, UK, France and Germany noted "with great concern" Iran's move.
Under the nuclear deal, which is known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Iran agreed to limit its nuclear activities in return for sanctions relief.
But a year ago US President Donald Trump abandoned the deal, saying it was "horribly one-sided" and needed to be renegotiated, and began reinstating sanctions. In November, those targeting Iran's oil and financial sectors took effect.
Iran's economy is now sliding towards a deep recession, the value of its currency has dropped to record lows, and its annual inflation rate has quadrupled.
Under the JCPOA, Iran agreed to limit its enrichment of uranium, which can be used to make reactor fuel but also nuclear weapons, and to sell surplus stocks.
It also said it would redesign a heavy-water nuclear reactor at Arak, whose spent fuel would contain plutonium suitable for a bomb, and sell any surplus heavy water.
President Hassan Rouhani said on Wednesday that Iran would stop immediately sales of enriched uranium and heavy water, allowing it to build up its stockpiles.
The sales would resume if the remaining parties to the JCPOA - the UK, France, Germany, Russia and China - met their commitments to protect Iran's banking and oil sectors within 60 days, he added.
If not, Iran will no longer observe a key commitment not to enrich uranium to concentrations higher than the 3.67% required for reactor fuel. Weapons-grade uranium is at least 90% enriched.
The country will also halt the redesign of the Arak heavy-water reactor.
"The Iranian people and the world should know that today is not the end of the JCPOA," Mr Rouhani said. "These are actions in line with the JCPOA."
The EU's foreign policy chief and the foreign ministers of France, Germany and the UK stressed that the JCPOA was "a key achievement of the global nuclear non-proliferation architecture, which is in the security interest of all".(ANA)
FA/ANA/9 May 2019-------