(February 7, 2021 / JNS) Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Saturday urged the Biden administration to rejoin the nuclear deal and ease sanctions before Feb. 21, after which Tehran intends to step up its nuclear activity.
“Time is running out for the Americans, both because of the parliament bill and the election atmosphere that will follow the [March 21] Iranian New Year,” Zarif told the Iranian newspaper Hamshahri on Saturday, according to Reuters.
He was referring to legislation, passed in November by the Iranian parliament, to “force” the United States and the European Union to revoke sanctions or face increased nuclear-related activity on the part of the regime in Tehran.
The legislation requires that Iran produce 120 kilograms (265 pounds) of 20 percent-enriched uranium a year; the activation of 1,000 IR-2M centrifuges in the underground section of the Natanz nuclear facility; the installation and activation by April 2021 of 1,000 advanced IR-6 centrifuges at the Fordo site; and the immediate reactivation of the IR-40 Arak heavy-water reactor facility.
“The more America procrastinates, the more it will … appear that Mr. Biden’s administration doesn’t want to rid itself of [former U.S. President Donald] Trump’s failed legacy,” said Zarif.
“We don’t need to return to the negotiating table. It’s America that has to find the ticket to come to the table,” he added.
On Tuesday, Tehran’s envoy to the International Atomic Energy Agency Kazem Gharibabadi tweeted that Iran is currently operating two cascades of 348 IR-2M centrifuges in Natanz, and that installation of two cascades of IR-6 centrifuges had begun at Fordow.
The operation of the cascades is in violation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) signed in 2015 between Iran and world powers, from which Trump withdrew in 2018. According to the JCPOA, Iran is only allowed to enrich uranium at Natanz, and only with first-generation IR-1 centrifuges.
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