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Iran Rejects US Accusations that It Has Long Violated the Nuclear Deal

TEHRAN – Iran on July 2 rejected a White House charge that Tehran had long violated the terms of its nuclear deal with world powers, after the Islamic Republic said it had amassed more uranium than authorized by the agreement, Reuters reported Tuesday.
“Seriously?” Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in a message on the social network Twitter, after a statement by White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham, who said: “There is no doubt that even before the conclusion of the agreement, Iran had violated its conditions.”
The Tehran announcement drew President Donald Trump’s attention to Tehran’s “playing with fire”.
This decision is Iran’s first major step beyond the terms of the pact since the US withdrew from it more than a year ago. However, Zarif said the decision was not a violation of the agreement, arguing that Tehran exercised its right to respond to the US strike.
However, this measure could have serious consequences for diplomacy at a time when European countries are trying to pull the United States and Iran out of confrontation.
The Fars news agency announced that the country’s enriched uranium stock had now exceeded the 300 kg (661 lb) limit allowed by the agreement.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the United States’ nuclear watchdog, which monitors the Iranian nuclear program under the deal, confirmed in Vienna that Tehran had exceeded the limit.
Trump, who asked if he had a message for Iran, said: “No message to Iran, they know what they are doing, they know what they’re playing with, and I think they’re playing with the fire, so no message in Iran whatsoever.”
The European powers, who remain parties to the agreement and have tried to keep it in place, have urged Iran not to take any additional measures that could violate it. But they refused to cancel the agreement or to announce their own sanctions.
The White House’s accusations that Iran would probably have violated the nuclear deal before and after its conclusion in 2015 stand in stark contrast to the testimony of CIA Director Gina Haspel in January before the Senate Intelligence Committee, declaring: “For the moment, technically they are in compliance.”
Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association, said the charges at the White House were “illogical”.
He pointed out that at the time of the conclusion of the nuclear deal, Tehran and the IAEA had agreed on a “road map” allowing Iran to answer the unanswered questions of nuclear weapons research program that the IAEA and the US intelligence services had assessed in 2003.
“The process is still ongoing,” he said.
He also said there was no international standard prohibiting Iran from enriching uranium, as Pompeo said. “That’s not the case, it’s an American position,” he said.
The six United Nations Security Council Resolutions affirmed by Pompeo established that these standards were superseded by Resolution 2231, which enshrined the nuclear agreement and authorized Iran to enrich uranium within the limits of the agreement.
While Iran announced on July 1 that it was violating the restriction on the agreement to stockpile more than 300 kg of low-enriched uranium, Kimball said the issue would be resolved through the dispute settlement mechanism.
It is the United States, he said, who violated the agreement when Trump withdrew from it while Iran was still in compliance, before reimposing heavy US sanctions that had been suspended by the US.
The violation of Iran, he said, does not affect the central objective of the agreement, which is to extend by one year the period during which Iran could “break out” and produce enough highly enriched uranium to constitute a warhead.
This is a political measure to put pressure on the European Union, China and Russia to compensate Iran for the serious damage caused to its economy by the sanctions imposed by the United States, he declared.
(Sahar News Monitoring Desk)

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