BFF-83 Iran enrichment plan not in breach of nuclear deal: EU

ZCZC

BFF-83

IRAN-NUCLEAR-DIPLOMACY-URANIUM-EU

Iran enrichment plan not in breach of nuclear deal: EU

BRUSSELS, June 5, 2018 (BSS/AFP) – The EU said Tuesday that a “first
assessment” indicated that Iran’s announcement that it has launched a plan to
boost uranium enrichment capacity did not breach its commitments under the
beleaguered 2015 nuclear deal.

Iran has notified the International Atomic Energy Agency that it plans to
open a centre for producing new centrifuges, the Islamic Republic’s nuclear
chief Ali Akbar Salehi said Tuesday, drawing an angry response from arch-foe
Israel.

The European Union, which is working to save the 2015 agreement with Iran
after the US pulled out, warned the Iranian announcement would not help build
confidence in the Iranian programme, but said it did not constitute a breach
of the deal.

“Following a first assessment, the announced steps per se are not a
violation of the JCPOA,” Maja Kocijancic, spokeswoman for EU diplomatic chief
Federica Mogherini, told AFP. The agreement is officially called the Joint
Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

“However, at this particularly critical juncture, they will not contribute
to build confidence in the nature of the Iranian nuclear programme.”

Salehi stressed that his announcement was just the start of the production
process and did not mean Iran was about to start assembling centrifuges.

Under the 2015 nuclear agreement that Iran signed with the US, China,
Russia, Britain, France and Germany after years of difficult talks, Tehran
can build and test parts for advanced centrifuges, but specific restrictions
exist on what technology can be researched and in what quantity within the
first decade of the deal.

European governments have been trying to salvage the nuclear deal since the
United States last month withdrew and said it would reimpose sanctions on
foreign companies working in the Islamic republic by November.

The remaining parties have vowed to stay in the accord but many of their
companies have already started to wind down Iranian operations.

A European source told AFP that the Iranian enrichment announcement is
being interpreted as a bid to step up the pressure on Brussels to deliver on
these promises.

The EU is trying to come up with ways to persuade Iran to stick with the
deal by protecting the economic benefits it gained when tough sanctions were
lifted in return for it halting its nuclear programme.

“As stated repeatedly, we expect Iran to stick to all its JCPOA
commitments, to be monitored by the IAEA, as it has been doing so far and has
been confirmed by the IAEA in 11 consecutive reports,” Kocijancic told AFP.

“The IAEA is the only body in charge of the monitoring and verification of
the implementation by Iran of its nuclear-related commitments under the
JCPOA.”

BSS/AFP/MRI/2234 hrs