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EghtesadOnline: Iran is ready to continue dialogue with the remaining parties to the 2015 nuclear deal, despite taking a further step in reducing its compliance to the accord on Friday.

"In order to show good faith, Iran is ready to continue talks with the remaining parties to JCPOA at all levels and return to full compliance in case they fulfill all their commitments under the deal," Foreign Ministry Spokesman Abbas Mousavi said on Thursday, using the abbreviation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the formal name of the nuclear agreement. 

He was citing a letter sent by Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to European Union foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, on Thursday in which he announced the initiation of the third step of Iran's plan to scale back its nuclear commitments, ISNA reported.  

Tehran adopted the plan in May in response to the United States' withdrawal last year and its reimposition of sanctions, as well as the European parties' failure to make up for the losses, according to Financial Tribune.

Two phases had already been implemented with a 60-day interval and the third step was due on Friday. Despite intensive negotiations with Europe over the past month, Tehran did not receive the required assurances and decided to start the third phase on the due date. 

President Hassan Rouhani officially declared the initiation of the new step on Wednesday, saying the measure will be within the framework of the International Atomic Energy Agency. 

"Another 60-day timeframe is ahead of Europe and any time they return to their commitments, we will return to JCPOA compliance as well," he was quoted as saying by his website. 

According to the Iranian spokesman, Zarif stressed in the letter that the measure is in complete accordance with Iran's rights under JCPOA and in response to the widespread and constant violation of the accord over the past 16 months. 

This phase involves lifting all limitations on Iran's nuclear research and development activities, and developing centrifuges for faster uranium enrichment.

The technical and operational details of the recent move will be reported to the IAEA subsequently, the spokesman added. 

Atomic Energy Organization of Iran’s Spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi is set to outline the details of this step on Saturday in a press briefing. 



International Response 

The European Union, led by France, has been making efforts to save the deal by protecting Iran's interests. 

In the latest round of talks between French and Iranian officials on Monday, the two sides discussed a proposed mechanism through which Iran can export its oil and have access to its revenue, but did not arrive at a final decision. 

France's Foreign Ministry on Thursday called on Iran to hold back any action that does not comply with JCPOA obligations. 

"Iran must refrain from any concrete action that is not in line with its commitments and that may hinder de-escalation efforts," foreign ministry spokeswoman, Agnes von der Muhll, told reporters in a daily online briefing, Reuters reported. 

She added that Paris would study the Iranian announcement with its partners and the UN atomic agency.

Britain's Foreign and Commonwealth Office also described the move as "deeply concerning" in a statement. 

"This third step away from its commitments under the nuclear deal is particularly disappointing at a time when we and our European and international partners are working hard to de-escalate tensions with Iran," the statement added, the Middle East Monitor reported. 

Germany urged Iran "not to aggravate the situation further".

"It is not too late for Iran to leave the wrong path it has gone down," a German Foreign Ministry spokesman told a regular news conference in Berlin on Friday. 


JCPOA Iran Hassan Rouhani diplomacy nuclear deal Compliance dialogue Open to Diplomacy Scaling Back