Iran to further undo uranium commitments in wake of US strike

State TV says Iran will not respect any limits set down in pact on country’s nuclear plans

A photo from the Iran Atomic Energy Organization  shows a  truck carrying a cylinder containing uranium hexafluoride gas for use in  centrifuges at Iran’s Fordow nuclear facility,  Fordow, Qom province, late last year. File photograph: Iran Atomic Energy Organization/EPA

A photo from the Iran Atomic Energy Organization shows a truck carrying a cylinder containing uranium hexafluoride gas for use in centrifuges at Iran’s Fordow nuclear facility, Fordow, Qom province, late last year. File photograph: Iran Atomic Energy Organization/EPA

 

Iran said on Sunday it would further roll back its commitments to a 2015 nuclear deal with six major powers by enriching uranium without restrictions, but Tehran will continue to co-operate with the UN nuclear watchdog.

State television said Iran would not respect any limits set down in the pact on the country’s nuclear work, whether the limit on the number of uranium enrichment centrifuges used, the level to which uranium could be enriched, or Iran’s nuclear research and development activities.

“Iran will continue its nuclear enrichment with no limitations and based on its technical needs,” a statement cited by state television said.

Iran has steadily overstepped the agreed limits on its nuclear activities in response to the withdrawal of the United States from the accord in 2018 and Washington’s reimposition of sanctions that have crippled Iran’s oil trade.

Tehran has said it can quickly undo the breaches if those sanctions are removed.

Escalation of hostilities

Iran had been expected to publicise its latest stance on the deal this weekend. Its announcement coincides with a major escalation of hostilities following the US killing of top Iranian military commander Qassem Suleimani in a drone strike on Friday in Baghdad.

Under the nuclear deal, Tehran undertook to curb its nuclear activities in exchange for a lifting of many international sanctions.

President Donald Trump’s withdrawal of the US from the deal led to a sharp deterioration in US-Iran relations. European powers are trying to salvage the agreement, but Iran has repeatedly said they are not doing enough.

Iran has already breached many of the deal’s restrictions on its nuclear activities, including on the purity to which it enriches uranium, its stock of enriched uranium, which models of centrifuge it enriches uranium with, and where it carries out the enrichment.

The deal as a whole was designed to increase the time Iran would need to obtain enough fissile material for a nuclear bomb if it wanted one. – Reuters