(May 8, 2019 / JNS) Iranian President Hassan Rouhani announced on Wednesday that the regime will partially withdraw from the 2015 nuclear deal—one year to the month after the United States withdrew from the accord.
In a televised speech, Rouhani said the other signatories—Britain Germany, Russia, France and China—were told in advance of the move.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran declares that at the current stage, it does not anymore see itself committed to respecting the limitations on keeping enriched uranium and heavy-water reserves,” said Iran’s Supreme National Security Council in a statement carried by the semi-official Fars news agency.
Late last week, the United States extended five of seven temporary waivers late last week to permit countries part of the nuclear deal to conduct civil nuclear projects with the regime, but with limits as part of the Trump administration’s “maximum pressure” campaign against Tehran.
The waivers—extended to 90 days, down from the 180 days previously granted—allow the signees to continue conducting nonproliferation work at the Bushehr, Arak and Fordow nuclear facilities.
Simultaneously, the United States ended two waivers: one that permitted “the storage for Iran of heavy water it has produced in excess of current limits” in Oman, and another that allowed Iran to exchange enriched uranium for raw yellowcake with Russia.
“Iran must stop all proliferation-sensitive activities, including uranium enrichment, and we will not accept actions that support the continuation of such enrichment,” said U.S. State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus.
“Our policy preserves oversight of Iran’s civil nuclear program, reduces proliferation risks, constrains Iran’s ability to shorten its ‘breakout time’ to a nuclear weapon and prevents the regime from reconstituting sites for proliferation-sensitive purposes,” she added. “We reserve the right to revoke or modify our policy covering these nonproliferation activities at any time if Iran violates its nuclear obligations or commitments, or we conclude that such projects no longer provide value in constraining Iranian nuclear activities.”
In response to Iran’s announcement, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, “We will not allow Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon.”