Tehran has announced that it has broken all limits in research and development in uranium enrichment.
Another failure. Iran announced on Wednesday that it would further reduce its nuclear commitments by removing any limits on research and development in this area. A decision taken after concluding that a French mediation had temporarily failed to initiate a dialogue between Tehran and Washington.
Washington had showered hopes that this initiative would succeed quickly. The United States had excluded any derogation from its sanctions.
In a televised address at around 11 p.m., Iranian President Hassan Rohani announced that he had “given the order” to the Iranian Atomic Energy Organisation “to take all necessary measures in the field of research and development and to abandon all existing commitments in this field”, in order to provide the country with everything it needs for the “enrichment” of uranium.
“Third phase” of reduction of Iranian commitments
This action was taken because “we did not achieve the result we wanted” in the recent diplomatic attempt led by France to try to prevent the international agreement on Iranian nuclear energy concluded in July 2015 in Vienna from shattering, he added.
The measures announced by Hassan Rohani are the “third phase” of a plan to reduce Iranian commitments launched in May in retaliation for the decision taken by the United States a year earlier to withdraw from this pact validated by the UN Security Council.
The Vienna agreement had granted Iran the lifting of some of the international sanctions that had isolated it for years in exchange for a drastic limitation of its nuclear programme, designed to make it impossible for Tehran to acquire nuclear weapons.
US “maximum pressure” policy
Considering these guarantees insufficient, the Donald Trump government wants to force Iran to negotiate a more binding agreement. It is pursuing a policy of “maximum pressure” against Tehran, with punitive sanctions, to prohibit any sale of Iranian oil.
Since May, Iran has reversed some of the restrictions on its nuclear programme that it had agreed to. It has thus increased its stocks of enriched uranium beyond the limit set by the agreement, and enriched this ore to a level prohibited by the agreement, i.e. more than 3.67%. In terms of research and development, the agreement imposes significant restrictions on centrifuges, a key element of the uranium enrichment cycle.