JCPOA Breach Will Reverse Nuclear Curbs
EghtesadOnline: Iran stands prepared to quickly restore previous levels of nuclear activity in case other parties to the 2015 nuclear deal renege on their commitments, the nuclear chief said.
"Necessary measures have been taken to ensure a swift reversibility [in Iran's nuclear program] in case the JCPOA is breached by the other side," Ali Akbar Salehi said in an interview with state television on Saturday.
JCPOA stands for the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, a formal term to refer to the historic pact.
It was negotiated with six major powers, including the US, and has been in effect as of January 16 to lift nuclear-related sanctions against Iran in return for temporary curbs on its nuclear program.
Salehi, who heads the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, was answering a recent call by Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani to begin to consider ramping up nuclear enrichment in response to the US measures against the action plan, according to Financial Tribune.
"The Majlis … warns the US administration, House of Representatives and Senate that their hostile moves to obstruct the JCPOA's implementation have pushed Iran to the point that it is left with no option but to respond," Larijani told an open session of parliament last Wednesday.
"It is necessary that the AEOI prepare a plan to launch nuclear plants and enrich uranium to the required [purity] levels and report to the Majlis about it."
Iran is increasingly exasperated that few trade deals are going through with international investors and firms, as foreign banks shy away from undertaking transactions with the country on fears of falling foul of lingering US sanctions.
US non-nuclear sanctions, imposed over allegations of terrorism sponsorship and human rights violations, include a ban on the use of dollar in Iran-related transactions and their clearance through the US financial system.
Adding to complications, US Republican lawmakers, who control the House of Representatives and Senate and unanimously opposed the JCPOA, have introduced frequent anti-Iran measures to interfere with the JCPOA implementation.
In its latest move, the House passed three measures last week, one to impose new sanctions on Iran over alleged terrorism support or human rights abuses, another to bar the US purchase of Iran's heavy water supplies and the third to block the Islamic Republic's access to the US financial system.
Also among the hostile measures were new amendments to the US visa law passed by Congress late last year, preventing visa-free travel to the United States for people who have visited Iran or hold Iranian nationality.
Time to Respond
Lawmaker Behrouz Nemati reiterated Larijani's appeal in a talk with ICANA on Saturday.
"In view of the failure of the other side to the JCPOA, especially the United States, to comply with their commitments, it is time we respond by stepping up [uranium] enrichment," Nemati said, noting that it is a right enshrined in the JCPOA.
Washington has been committed by the deal to make "best efforts in good faith to sustain JCPOA and to prevent interference with the realization of the full benefit by Iran of the sanctions lifting."
"The US administration, acting consistent with the respective roles of the president and Congress, will refrain from reintroducing or re-imposing the sanctions ... it has ceased applying under this JCPOA," the deal said.
"Iran has stated that it will treat such a reintroduction or re-imposition of [these] sanctions, or such an imposition of new nuclear-related sanctions, as grounds to cease performing its commitments under this JCPOA in whole or in part."