U.S. will not certify Iran nuclear deal: Pence

23 February, 2018, 02:56 | Author: Gregory Stephens
  • Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi

Iran has fired a diplomatic warning shot at Washington by raising the prospect of building nuclear reactors for ships while staying within the limits set by its atomic deal with major powers, a United Nations nuclear watchdog report showed on Thursday.

But will Iran pull the trigger and leave the JCPOA?

While Iran has reaped massive economic benefits from the accord, notably by being able to resume oil exports, it is still constrained by U.S. sanctions in other areas.

In an about-face, Iran on Thursday indicated that it is willing to walk away from the 2015 nuclear deal if major banks continue to stay away from doing business with Iran, for fear of violating US sanctions that remain in place. "If the same policy of confusion and uncertainties about the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) continues, with companies and banks not working with Iran, we can not remain in a deal that has no benefit for us, and that's a fact".

Klor-Berchtold also described the JCPOA as a complicated issue and said, "Germany along with its European partners have stood firm by the JCPOA despite efforts of one of the signatories of the deal to create an instable atmosphere and discourage foreign companies from making investments in Iran". Now it seems Iranian officials believe the deal was also a failure for them.

The confidential quarterly IAEA report follows a statement by Iran's deputy foreign minister earlier on Thursday that Tehran will withdraw from the deal if there is no economic gains and major banks continue to stay away.


Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei echoed these statements, saying, "Our policy will not change with regards to the arrogant United States government".

Aside from the relatively minor breach on heavy water, the IAEA reports have consistently shown Iran adhering to the deal in the two years since it took effect.

Speaking at the Chatham House think tank in London, he continued: "If we lose the JCPOA, we will face another nuclear crisis".

The UN atomic watchdog requested "further clarifications and amplifications", the report said, adding that, if a decision had been reached to build new facilities for naval nuclear propulsion, it needed to supply initial design information.

It's likely that Iran sees the Trump administration's stance as an escalation and could therefore respond in kind, without doing anything as drastic as leaving the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, Marashi added.

Lowly enriched uranium can be used for peaceful applications such as power generation, Iran's stated aim, but also for a nuclear weapon if processed to a higher level.

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