EghtesadOnline: A senior Russian Foreign Ministry official said Moscow is ready to export Iran’s enriched uranium produced above the limit set by the 2015 nuclear deal, should the United States return to the historic accord.
Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov made the statement to RIA Novosti, according to a Wednesday tweet by Russia’s permanent mission to international organizations in Vienna, Austria.
“We don’t exclude that Russia will be ready to export excess enriched uranium from Iran, should the US return to the Nuclear Deal,” Ryabkov said.
Under the nuclear agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, Iran is allowed to keep 300 kilograms of uranium enriched up to 3.67% purity. The deal requires Tehran to sell any enriched uranium above the limit on international markets in return for natural uranium.
However, the administration of former US president, Donald Trump, left JCPOA in 2018 in breach of the deal’s multilateral nature and the fact that the accord had been ratified by a United Nations Security Council resolution. Washington also returned the economic sanctions that the deal had lifted.
Based on JCPOA’s provisions, Iran began nuclear countermeasures a year after the US withdrawal to prompt Washington to resume its JCPOA obligations and other European signatories to stop abiding by the American sanctions and renew their trade activities with Iran.
In July that year, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the country had increased its low-enriched uranium stockpile to over 300 kilograms.
The most recent bout of Iran’s countermeasures came after the Iranian Parliament passed a law, ordering the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran to resume uranium enrichment at the 20% purity level.
Under the law, Iran will also stop abiding by the Additional Protocol of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which enables more intrusive inspections of the country’s nuclear facilities, as of Feb. 21.
Ryabkov said, “It is way too premature to speak about it at the moment,” referring to the likelihood of US return to JCPOA and Russia exporting the Iranian uranium.
Trump’s successor Joe Biden has voiced an inclination to bring the US back into the deal.
Visiting Moscow last Tuesday, Zarif said Iran would take proper action whenever the US lifted the sanctions to pave the way for its return to the nuclear deal, stressing that the Islamic Republic takes Washington’s actions, not words, as its yardstick.
“What we have heard from the new United States administration [so far] has mostly been in the form of words and announcement of its positions,” he said in a joint press conference with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov.
“However, it is actions that we [choose to] respond to,” Zarif added.