Iran has begun using arrays of advanced centrifuges to enrich uranium in violation of its 2015 nuclear deal, a spokesman said Saturday, warning that Europe has little time left to offer new terms to save the accord. The comments by Behrouz Kamalvandi of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran signal a further cut into the one year experts estimate Tehran would need to have a enough material for building a nuclear weapon if it chose to pursue one. Iran maintains its program is peaceful. Iran already has breached the stockpile and enrichment level limits set by the deal, while stressing it could quickly revert back to the terms of the accord if Europe finds a way for it to sell its crude oil abroad despite crushing U.S. sanctions. However, questions likely will grow in Europe over Iran’s intentions as satellite photos obtained by The Associated Press on Saturday showed an once-detained oil tanker Tehran reportedly promised wouldn’t go to Syria was off its coast. Tensions between Iran and the U.S. have risen in recent months, with mysterious attacks on oil tankers near the Strait of Hormuz, Iran shooting down a U.S. military surveillance drone, and other incidents across the wider Middle East. Iran separately seized another ship and detained 12 Filipino crewmembers, a semi-official news agency reported Saturday. “Our stockpile is quickly increasing,” Kamalvandi warned in a news conference. “We hope they will come to their senses.” The accord saw Iran limits its enrichment of uranium in exchange for sanctions
France has proposed offering Iran credit lines worth about $15 billion (12 billion pounds) until the end of the year in return for Tehran coming fully back into compliance with its 2015 nuclear deal, an offer that hinges on Washington not blocking it, Western and Iranian sources said. European leaders have struggled to calm confrontation between Tehran and Washington since U.S. President Donald Trump quit the deal, which guarantees Iran access to world trade in return for curbs to its nuclear programme. The United States re-imposed sanctions on Iran last year and tightened them sharply this year. Iran has responded by breaching some of the limits on nuclear material in the deal, and has set a deadline for this week to take further steps. Macron has spent the summer trying to create conditions that would bring the sides back to the negotiating table. An Iranian delegation was in Paris on Monday, including oil and finance officials, to fine tune details of credit lines that would give Iran some respite from sanctions that have crippled its economy and cut off its oil exports. “The question is to know whether we can reach this $15 billion) level, secondly who will finance it, and thirdly we need to get at the very least the tacit approval of the United States. We still don’t know what the U.S. position is,” said a source aware of the negotiations. A senior Iranian official familiar with the negotiations said: “France has offered the credit line of $15
Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says the US must return to a 2015 multilateral nuclear agreement and end its economic terrorism against the Islamic Republic as a prerequisite for negotiations. “The United States is engaged in an economic war against the Iranian people and it won’t be possible for us to engage with the United States unless they stop imposing a war and engaging in economic terrorism against the Iranian people,” Javad Zarif told reporters in the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur, on Thursday. “So if they want to come back into the room there is a ticket that they need to purchase and that ticket is to observe the agreement,” he added. Zarif also stressed that Iran does not want to meet for the sake of meeting, saying, “We need to meet if there is a result.” He made the remarks days after French President Emmanuel Macron expressed hopes for a meeting between President Hassan Rouhani of Iran and his American counterpart, Donald Trump, “in the next few weeks.” Rouhani, however, rejected any such talks under pressure, urging the US to lift all its “cruel” bans and begin respecting the nation’s rights as a “first step” towards dialog. The nuclear deal — officially named the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) — was signed between Iran and six world states — namely the US, Germany, France, Britain, Russia and China. Washington, however, left the accord last May, leaving the future of the historic deal in limbo. Critical of Washington’s
World countries and the United Nations have censured the administration of US President Donald Trump over imposing sanctions on Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying slammed Washington’s decision at a press briefing in Beijing on Thursday. China Reaction “We have taken note of the statement of the US side and the reaction of Mr. Zarif himself. The position of the Chinese side on this issue is very clear. China opposes unilateral US actions … We think it is not facilitating the solution of the problem,” Hua said. She stressed that negotiation and dialogue were the best ways to resolve the simmering tensions between Washington and Tehran. “The US has repeatedly stated that it is ready to hold talks with Iran without preconditions. We hope that the actions of the United States will not diverge from their statements,” the senior Chinese official noted. In separate statements on Wednesday, the US Treasury announced the imposition of sanctions against Zarif because he “acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran”. Back on June 24, US President Donald Trump announced new sanctions against Iran, targeting Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei and top commanders of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC). In his statement on Zarif’s designation, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo claimed that the top Iranian diplomat is a “key enabler” of Iran’s policies throughout the region and the
Taha Shakouri keeps finding remote corners to play in at a Tehran children’s charity hospital, unaware that his doctors are running out of chemo medicine needed to treat the eight-year-old boy’s liver cancer. With Iran’s economy in free fall after the U.S. pullout from the nuclear deal and escalated sanctions on Tehran, prices of imported medicines have soared as the national currency tumbled about 70% against the dollar. Even medicines manufactured in Iran are tougher to come by for ordinary Iranians, their cost out of reach for many in a country where the average monthly salary is equivalent to about $450. Iran’s health system can’t keep up and many are blaming President Donald Trump’s “maximum pressure” campaign for the staggering prices and shortages. The sanctions have hurt ordinary Iranians, sending prices for everything from staples and consumer goods to housing skyward, while raising the specter of war with the U.S. Taha’s mother, Laya Taghizadeh, says the hospital provides her son’s medication for free — a single treatment would otherwise cost $1,380 at a private hospital. She adds the family is deeply grateful to the doctors and the hospital staff. “We couldn’t make it without their support,” says the 30-year-old woman. “My husband is a simple grocery store worker and this is a very costly disease.” The Iranian rial has plunged from 32,000 to $1 at the time of the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers to around 120,000 rials to the dollar these days, highly affecting prices of
Turkey and the United States have been at odds on several fronts including Ankara’s decision to buy the S-400s, which cannot be integrated into NATO systems. Washington says it would jeopardise Turkey’s role in building Lockheed Martin F-35 fighter jets, which it says would be compromised by S-400s.
Iran said on Sunday it could quit a treaty against the spread of nuclear weapons after the United States tightens sanctions, while an Iranian general said the U.S. Navy was interacting as before with an elite military unit blacklisted by Washington. Tensions between Tehran and Washington have risen since the Trump administration withdrew last year from a 2015 international nuclear deal with Iran and began ratcheting up sanctions.
Earlier this month, the United States blacklisted Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) and demanded buyers of Iranian oil stop purchases by May or face sanctions.
“The Islamic Republic’s choices are numerous, and the country’s authorities are considering them ... and leaving NPT (nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty) is one of them,” state broadcaster IRIB’s website quoted Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif as saying.