Iranian Affairs

Eagle1

Senior Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Nov 17, 2017
Messages
3,251
Reaction score
2,255
Tehran to Announce Suspending Parts of Nuclear Deal
Tuesday, 7 May, 2019

European Union High Representative Federica Mogherini (L) and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif wait for a meeting with officials from P5+1, the European Union and Iran at the Beau Rivage Palace Hotel in Lausanne March 31, 2015. REUTERS/Brendan Smialowski/Pool

London - Asharq Al-Awsat

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani will announce on Wednesday his country’s response to the withdrawal of US President Donald Trump from the nuclear deal, Iranian state news agencies reported, quoting a source familiar with the matter as saying that Tehran had informed the signatory parties of a partial or total suspension of some of its commitments to the nuclear agreement.

“The partial and total reduction of some of Iran’s commitments and the resumption of part of the nuclear activities that were suspended under the nuclear agreement are the first Iranian step to respond to the US withdrawal from the nuclear agreement and the European countries’ failure to fulfill their commitments,” an Iranian news agency said, quoting an official of the committee overseeing the implementation of the JCPOA.

The United States announced last Friday several measures that target Iran's nuclear program, and suspended sanctions exemptions related to the exchange of enriched uranium with natural uranium.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif last week referred to "multiple options" to be discussed at the highest levels in Tehran to respond to the White House’s moves. Among these options is withdrawal from the NPT.

However, the official IRNA news agency quoted an Iranian official as saying on Monday that his country has left the door open to diplomacy, noting that Iran's steps were “another opportunity for diplomacy, and to rectify the unilateral moves adopted by the parties to the agreement.”

The Iranian official criticized the positions of the European countries since Trump’s withdrawal from the agreement, and said: “They made promises they failed to implement.”

The Iranian announcement will be preceded by a meeting between the parties to the JCPOA, which is supposed to be held in Vienna on Tuesday at the level of experts, to discuss the latest status of the nuclear agreement and the implementation of the special European mechanism launched by Britain, France and Germany in order to circumvent the US sanctions.

 

Eagle1

Senior Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Nov 17, 2017
Messages
3,251
Reaction score
2,255
Iran Says Using All Resources to Sell Oil in 'Grey Market'
05 May, 2019

FILE PHOTO: An oil pump jack is seen at sunset near Midland, Texas, US, May 3, 2017. REUTERS/Ernest Scheyder/File Photo

Asharq Al-Awsat

Iran has mobilized all its resources to sell oil in a "grey market", bypassing US sanctions that Tehran sees as illegitimate, state media quoted Deputy Oil Minister Amir Hossein Zamaninia as saying on Sunday.

The United States, which last year withdrew from a 2015 Iran nuclear deal with world powers, has told buyers of Iranian oil to stop purchases by May 1 or face sanctions.

Iran says it will continue to export oil in defiance of US sanctions, part of a campaign by Washington aimed at halting Tehran's ballistic missile program and curbing its regional power.

"We have mobilized all of the country's resources and are selling oil in the 'grey market'," state news agency IRNA quoted Zamaninia as saying.

Zamaninia gave no details about the "grey market", but Iran is widely reported to have sold oil at steep discounts and often through private firms during sanctions earlier this decade.

"We certainly won't sell 2.5 million barrels per day as under the (nuclear deal)," Zamaninia said, giving no figures for current sales.

"We will need to make serious decisions about our financial and economic management, and the government is working on that."

"This is not smuggling. This is countering sanctions which we do not see as just or legitimate," Zamaninia said.


 

Eagle1

Senior Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Nov 17, 2017
Messages
3,251
Reaction score
2,255
Tehran to Continue Enriching Uranium, Rouhani Warns Against Internal Divisions
05 May, 2019

A general view of the Bushehr nuclear power plant, some 1,200 km (746 miles) south of Tehran October 26, 2010. REUTERS/IRNA/Mohammad Babaie

London- Asharq Al-Awsat

As the US intensifies its pressure campaign aimed at curbing Tehran's ballistic missile program and its regional influence, the Iranian clerical-led regime reaffirmed its plans to resume enriching uranium, heavy (deuterium0-based) water and exporting oil.

Speaker Ali Larijani said Tehran would continue to enrich uranium and produce heavy water, regardless of restrictions on shipping abroad.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, for his part, warned that the recent host of US economic sanctions, a part of Washington strategy to counter Iranian malicious behavior, risks stoking internal tensions. Reformists in Rouhani’s administration and Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei loyalists have been at odds on Iran’s response policy to pressure.

“Under the [nuclear accord] Iran can produce heavy water and this is not in violation of the agreement. Therefore, we will carry on with enrichment activity,” the semiofficial Iranian news agency, ISNA, quoted Parliamentary speaker Ali Larijani as saying on May 4.

“We will enrich Uranium whether you move to buy it or not,” Larijani said.

On May 3, the US President Donald Trump's administration slapped new restrictions on Iran’s nuclear activities as it looks to force Tehran to stop producing low-enriched uranium and expanding its only nuclear power plant, intensifying a campaign aimed at halting Tehran's ballistic missile program and curbing its regional power.

Despite increasing pressure on Iran, the United States on May 3 extended five sanction waivers that will allow Russian, China, and European countries to continue to work with Iran’s civilian nuclear program at Bushehr. But it said it may punish any activity that expands the site.

At the same time, the State Department said it was ending two waivers related to Iranian exports of enriched uranium in what it called “the toughest sanctions ever on the Iranian regime.” All of the waivers were due to expire on May 4.

The 45- to 90-day extensions were shorter than the 180 days granted previously but can be renewed.

It was the third punitive action taken against Iran in as many weeks. Last week, it said it would grant no more sanctions waivers for countries buying Iranian oil, accelerating its plan to push Iran’s oil exports to zero. The Trump administration also took the unprecedented step of designating Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard Corps as a foreign terrorist organization.

“The Trump administration continues to hold the Iranian regime accountable for activities that threaten the region's stability and harm the Iranian people. This includes denying Iran any pathway to a nuclear weapon," State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said.

The Trump administration pulled out of the nuclear accord a year ago and vowed "maximum pressure" aimed at curbing the regional role of Iran.”

 

Eagle1

Senior Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Nov 17, 2017
Messages
3,251
Reaction score
2,255
US Seeks to Force Iran to Stop Enriching Uranium
04 May, 2019

A general view of Iran’s Bushehr nuclear power plant, built by Russia, October 26, 2010. REUTERS/IRNA/Mohammad Babaie

Asharq Al-Awsat

The United States acted on Friday to force Iran to stop producing low-enriched uranium and expanding its only nuclear power plant even as it granted waivers allowing some countries to conduct civilian nuclear cooperation with the country.

In line with the 2015 nuclear deal, which was negotiated under former president Barack Obama and still enjoys strong support among European powers, Iran was limited to keeping 300 kilograms of uranium enriched up to 3.67 percent -- far below the level needed to build nuclear weapons.

As part of the agreement, Iran was to sell any enriched uranium above that threshold on international markets in return for natural uranium, with Russia a key player.

But in Friday's policy change, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the United States would start to impose sanctions on anyone involved in the trade of natural for enriched uranium -- as well as in the storage of Iranian heavy water that was in excess of limits.

"The Trump administration continues to hold the Iranian regime accountable for activities that threaten the region's stability and harm the Iranian people. This includes denying Iran any pathway to a nuclear weapon," State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said.

At the same time, Pompeo renewed waivers of US sanctions allowing Russia, China and European countries to pursue cooperation programs designed to prevent Iran from reactivating a defunct nuclear weapons program.

Facilities in the waiver extensions include the Bushehr nuclear power plant, the Fordow enrichment facility, the Arak nuclear complex and the Tehran Research Reactor, the State Department said.

But, it said, the renewable waivers would be granted only for 90 days, a shorter period than the previous 180 days.

The moves are part of the Trump administration's efforts to impose international political and economic isolation on Tehran that began with the US withdrawal in May 2018 from the nuclear deal.

It was the third punitive action taken against Iran in as many weeks. Last week, it said it would grant no more sanctions waivers for countries buying Iranian oil, accelerating its plan to push Iran's oil exports to zero.

The Trump administration also took the unprecedented step of designating Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps as a foreign terrorist organization.



 

Eagle1

Senior Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Nov 17, 2017
Messages
3,251
Reaction score
2,255
Iran President's Brother Sentenced to Prison for Corruption
4 May, 2019


Iranian FM Mohamad Javad Zarif (L) stands alongside Hossein Fereidoun, President Rouhani's brother and advisor, during a press conference for Rouhani in Tehran in April 2015. (AFP)

Asharq Al-Awsat

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s brother was sentenced to an unspecified term in prison for corruption, reported the semi-official ISNA news agency on Saturday.

Hossein Fereidoun, a close confidante of the president, will be able to appeal the verdict.

The financial misconduct charges date back to 2016, and were brought by hardliners who dominate the country's judiciary.

Rouhani changed his surname decades ago.

Fereidoun's trial began in February, and he's been free on bail since spending a night in prison in 2017.

He had played a role as part of the team that negotiated Iran's 2015 nuclear agreement with world powers.

Iran has in the past jailed allies of former presidents for similar charges.

 

Eagle1

Senior Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Nov 17, 2017
Messages
3,251
Reaction score
2,255
'Feels Terrible': Iran a Year after US Sanctions Reimposed
Tuesday, 07 May, 2019


A money changer displays US and Iranian banknotes at the Grand Bazaar in central Tehran October 7, 2015. (Reuters)

Asharq Al-Awsat

Alireza says he used to dream of a better future in Iran and even saw himself getting a new car or house, but those days are now gone after he lost his job to reimposed US sanctions.

"My purchasing power has been cut, and my life is under pressure," said Alireza, an Iranian car industry veteran.

"I no longer see myself as middle-class. It feels terrible,” he said according to an AFP report Tuesday.

It is now one year since the United States withdrew from a landmark nuclear accord that promised Iran relief from sanctions in exchange for Tehran scaling back its nuclear program.

In 2015 when Iran struck the deal, hopes had been high it would end years of crippling economic isolation for the country.

Hotels were unable to handle the influx of investors from abroad and according to President Hassan Rouhani, Iran was set to benefit from an injection of $100 billion from foreign banks and companies.

"When the deal was working, it truly was a boom time. They were hiring left, right and center and we didn't have time to scratch our heads," said 42-year-old Alireza, who declined to give his last name.

But "everything was reversed" on May 8, 2018 when the United States withdrew from the deal, he told AFP.

Alireza said he lost his job at French automaker PSA Group, after years of working in different positions, along with hundreds of others, when the first wave of sanctions affecting the car industry were imposed that August.

"I've searched everywhere to find a job since then, but without any success," he said.

Calling the nuclear agreement the "worst deal ever", US President Donald Trump reimposed sanctions on Iran's banking system, oil sales and trade in metals.

Most international firms that set up shop in Iran after the 2015 deal, including France's Total, PSA Group and Renault and Germany's Siemens, were consequently forced to either leave the country or minimize their presence.

The loss of jobs from foreign firms, a sharp currency devaluation and rampant inflation have made life "grim" for Alireza and many other middle-class Iranians.

After about 20 years as a sales and marketing expert in the auto industry, "I used to think of myself as an upper middle-class Iranian," said Alireza, who also says he has a long record of working with foreign firms in Iran.

In the good days of sanctions relief he could comfortably imagine getting a bigger house and a better car with some savings and a loan.

Yet living on unemployment insurance -- less than half of what he used to earn -- with dim job prospects make upward mobility a rare commodity.

"My salary is gone and house prices have soared... and it's just about impossible to buy a car now," said Alireza, who is married with no children.

According to Iran's central bank, the cost of homes in the capital has surged about 104 percent since March 2018 and the price of imported cars has grown beyond the reach of many.

Employment opportunities are scarce, too. Big domestic carmakers like Iran Khodro and SAIPA are also suffering from the US sanctions and dealing with financial problems of their own.

Alireza says he and his wife are still managing to provide for basic needs like food.

But although she is still employed their household income is now little more than a third of what it used to be.

But for many lower strata Iranians, essential goods like red meat, certain fruits and vegetables are too expensive to buy because of runaway inflation.

For many Iranians the 2018 US sanctions were reminiscent of the pre-nuclear deal period, when multilateral sanctions pushed the country into recession.

Alireza had it worse, however, as the same layoff scenario played out for him in 2012, too.

"I've been bitten by sanctions twice. I was laid off in just the same way back in 2012 when (PSA) called off its operations and left," he said. "It's like history repeating itself."

In 2015, the nuclear deal had given him hope for a steadily improving future with tangible benefits.

"But now I don't see the future to be any better than my recent past," he said. "Nothing will happen unless something major changes, like the last time."


 

Eagle1

Senior Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Nov 17, 2017
Messages
3,251
Reaction score
2,255
Boxed in: $1 billion of Iranian crude sits at China's Dalian port
April 30, 2019
Chen Aizhu, Florence Tan

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Some 20 million barrels of Iranian oil sitting on China’s shores in the northeast port of Dalian for the past six months now appears stranded as the United States hardens its stance on importing crude from Tehran.

Iran sent the oil to China, its biggest customer, ahead of the reintroduction of U.S. sanctions last November, as it looked for alternative storage for a backlog of crude at home.

The oil is being held in so-called bonded storage tanks at the port, which means it has yet to clear Chinese customs. Despite a six-month waiver to the start of May that allowed China to continue some Iranian imports, shipping data shows little of this oil has been moved.

Traders and refinery sources pointed to uncertainty over the terms of the waiver and said independent refiners had been unable to secure payment or insurance channels, while state refiners struggled to find vessels.

The future of the crude, worth well over $1 billion at current prices, has become even more unclear after Washington last week increased its pressure on Iran, saying it would end all sanction exemptions at the start of May.

“No responsible Chinese company with any international exposure will have anything to do with Iran oil unless they are specifically told by the Chinese government to do so,” said Tilak Doshi of oil and gas consultancy Muse, Stancil & Co in Singapore.

Iran previously stored oil in 2014 at Dalian during the last round of sanctions that was later sold to buyers in South Korea and India.

China last week formally complained to the United States over the unilateral Iran sanctions, but U.S. officials have said Washington is not considering a further short-term waiver or a wind-down period.


The 20 million barrels is equal to about a month’s worth of China’s imports from Iran over the past six months, or about two days of the country’s total imports.

Iran says it will continue to export oil in defiance of U.S. sanctions.

A senior official with the National Iranian Tanker Company (NITC), who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Reuters: “We will continue to sell our oil.”

“Iran is now desperate and will deal with anyone with steep discounts as long as they get paid somehow,” said Doshi.

Reuters Graphic
SOME OIL TAKEN

Some Iranian oil sent to Dalian has moved, according to a ship tracking analyst at Refinitiv.

Dan, a supertanker owned by NITC moved 2 million barrels of oil from Dalian more than 1,000 km (620 miles) to the south to the Ningbo Shi Hua crude oil terminal in March, according to Refinitiv data.


Ningbo is home to Sinopec’s Zhenhai refinery, one of the country’s largest oil plants with a capacity of 500,000 barrels a day and a top processor of Iranian oil.

Sinopec declined to comment.

Reuters Graphic
The Iranian tanker was chartered by state-run Chinese trader Zhuhai Zhenrong Corp, according to Refinitiv analyst Emma Li. The NITC official confirmed the oil was taken by Zhuhai Zhenrong.

Zhenrong was started in the 1990s and brokered the first oil supply deals between Iran and China. At that time, Iran was supplying oil to China to pay for arms supplied by Beijing during the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war. Zhuhai Zhenrong still specializes mainly in buying Iranian oil.

An official at the general manager’s office with Zhuhai Zhenrong’s office in Beijing said he could not immediately comment. The company did not reply to a fax seeking comment.

For now, more Iranian oil is heading to China, with the supertankers Stream and Dream II due to arrive in eastern China from Iran on May 5 and May 7, respectively, Refinitiv data showed.

Some of this crude may be from Chinese investments into Iranian oilfields, a sanctions grey area.

Whether China will keep buying oil from Iran remains unclear, but analysts at Fitch Solutions said in a note “there may be scope for imports via barter or non-compliance from ... China.”


Muse, Stancil & Co’s Doshi said the only way to get the Iranian oil out of Dalian now was by cheating.

“Only rogue parties might try to cheat the system and try to pass the Iranian oil at Dalian as something else via fraudulent docs. But I doubt this is easy or can amount to much in terms of volume.”

Reporting by Chen Aizhu and Florence Tan in Singapore; additional reporting by Parisa Hafezi in Dubai and Min Zhang in Beijing; Editing by Henning Gloystein and Richard Pullin


 

Eagle1

Senior Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Nov 17, 2017
Messages
3,251
Reaction score
2,255
Europe May Reimpose Sanctions on Iran if it Reneges on Nuclear Deal
07 May, 2019

European officials and Iranian FM Mohammed Javad Zarif (C) are seen following nuclear talks at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne April 2, 2015. (Reuters)

Asharq Al-Awsat

France warned on Tuesday that Europe may reimpose sanctions on Iran if it reneges on parts of the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers.

"We do not want Tehran to announce tomorrow actions that would violate the nuclear agreement, because in this case we Europeans would be obliged to reimpose sanctions as per the terms of the agreement," a French source said.

French presidential sources warned on Tuesday that European powers will turn to a dispute mechanism that could reimpose international sanctions.

Iranian state news reports have said Iran does not plan to pull out of the deal, but will revive some nuclear activity that was halted under it. Iran's president is due to speak on Wednesday.

France, Germany and Britain, the European signatories to the agreement that lifted sanctions against Tehran in exchange for restrictions on Iran's atomic activities, have scrambled to save the deal amid US efforts to isolate Tehran since it announced its withdrawal a year ago.

However, the three have repeatedly warned Iran that it must comply with all aspects of the deal and most importantly the elements related to nuclear activity.

Those restrictions have increased the time Iran would need to build a nuclear bomb if it chose to do so. The United States and the UN nuclear watchdog believe Iran had a nuclear weapons program that it abandoned. Iran denies ever having had one.

A second French official later said the suggestion that sanctions would be reimposed if Tehran reneged was referring to a mechanism within the deal itself.

"We don't want to go as far as sanctions and want Iran to respect its commitments and that's the message we passed to Tehran and Washington," the official said.

The deal provides a mechanism for states to complain if the accord is being breached, and ultimately for sanctions to be reimposed unless the UN Security Council votes to extend relief.

"Tomorrow, depending on what is in the statement from Tehran, at this stage what we're expecting is a collective European reaction but as we do not yet know exactly what will be in it, we are preparing for different eventualities," the first official said.

 

Eagle1

Senior Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Nov 17, 2017
Messages
3,251
Reaction score
2,255
Iran to Stop Respecting Limits on Nuclear Activities
08 May, 2019


Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. (AP)

Asharq Al-Awsat

Iran announced on Wednesday that it has started scaling back parts of its commitments under its 2015 nuclear deal unless other powers help Tehran bypass renewed US sanctions, amid rising tensions with Washington.

The move was part of a package of measures announced by Iran in response to the sweeping unilateral sanctions reimposed by Washington in the 12 months since it quit the agreement, which have had a severe effect on the Iranian economy.

Under the landmark deal agreed by US President Donald Trump's predecessor Barack Obama, the six parties to the agreement were supposed to lift nuclear-related sanctions on Iran in return for it reining in its nuclear activities to ease fears it was seeking the capability to produce an atomic bomb.

But the promised sanctions relief has failed to materialize as European and Asian banks and oil companies have moved swiftly to abide by the renewed US sanctions for fear of financial or commercial repercussions.

Iran warned that if the five other parties to the agreement - Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia -- failed to deliver on their commitments within 60 days to help Tehran benefit from the deal despite the US sanctions, it would suspend other key limits set by the deal.

In a speech broadcast on national television, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said he had written to the remaining signatories saying Tehran would start rolling back on its commitments by stopping selling enriched uranium and heavy water to other nations.

“If the five countries came to the negotiating table and we reached an agreement, and if they could protect our interests in the oil and banking sectors, we will go back to square one (and will resume our commitments),” he said.

Rouhani warned of a firm response if Iran’s nuclear case is referred again to the UN Security Council, but said Tehran was ready for negotiations.

Iran's Supreme National Security Council said the measures were necessary to "secure its rights and bring back balance" after the unilateral moves by the Trump administration.

Iran “does not at the current stage consider itself committed to observing restrictions regarding storing enriched uranium stocks and heavy water stocks," the Supreme National Security Council said.

"The remaining parties to the (deal) are given 60 days to implement their commitments, in particular in the fields of banking and oil," the council added.

"In the next stage Iran will also stop observing restrictions on the level of uranium enrichment and measures regarding modernizing Arak heavy water reactor."

Uranium enriched to much higher levels than Iran's current stocks can be used as the fissile core of a nuclear weapon, while heavy water is a source of plutonium which can be used an alternative way to produce a warhead.

The deal restricted Iran from enriching uranium to more than 3.67 percent, the level commonly used in power generation, and barred it from building additional heavy water reactors or accumulating stocks of more than 130 tons of heavy water.

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who is on an official visit to Moscow, stressed Iran's actions were not in breach of the nuclear deal.

“After a year of patience, Iran stops measures that US has made impossible to continue.”

Zarif said the remaining countries had a “narrowing window” to save the deal.

Emphasizing that "Iran will not withdraw" from the deal, Zarif said "this right has been set for Iran in the JCPOA (nuclear deal); we are not operating outside of the JCPOA but are in fact working in its framework."

France’s defense minister said she wanted to keep the nuclear deal alive but warned Iran it could face more sanctions if it did not honor its part of the deal.

“Today nothing would be worse than Iran, itself, leaving this agreement,” Florence Parly told BFM TV.

China’s foreign ministry said the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement should be fully implemented and all sides have a responsibility to ensure it happens.

Wednesday’s developments came as Washington stepped up its war of words against Tehran, with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo making a hastily organized visit to neighboring Iraq where he accused Iran of planning "imminent" attacks.

Adding to the tensions, Washington announced it was deploying an aircraft carrier strike group with several nuclear-capable B-52 bombers to the Middle East and national security adviser John Bolton warned Washington would respond with "unrelenting force" to any attack by Tehran.

 

Eagle1

Senior Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Nov 17, 2017
Messages
3,251
Reaction score
2,255
Iran announces partial withdrawal from nuclear deal
Last Update: Wednesday, 8 May 2019

Iran has decided to suspend some of its commitments under a landmark 2015 nuclear deal with major powers, the foreign ministry announced on Wednesday.

“The decision of the high security council to ‘stop acting on some of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s commitments under the (nuclear deal)’ was communicated to the heads of state of the countries still party to the deal -- Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia,” the ministry said.

Iranian state television reported that letters outlining the Islamic Republic’s partial withdrawal from its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers have been delivered to ambassadors.

State TV made the announcement Wednesday. It did not elaborate on what steps Iran planned to take.

The letters were to be delivered to the leaders of Britain, China, the European Union, France and Germany, informing them of Iran’s decision to stop implementing "some commitments" under a 2015 nuclear deal.

All were signatories to the nuclear deal, which saw Iran limit its enrichment of uranium in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions. A letter was also to go to Russia.

The move came a year to the date President Donald Trump withdrew America from the accord.

The letters will come as officials in the Islamic Republic previously warned that Iran might increase its uranium enrichment, potentially pulling away from a deal it has sought to salvage for months.

Enriching uranium
Iranian officials also said on Wednesday that Iran will no longer respect limits it agreed on its enriched uranium and heavy water stocks under a 2015 nuclear deal.

Iran’s Supreme National Security Council said the measure was necessary to “secure its rights and bring back balance” after Washington's abandonment of the agreement exactly one year ago on May 8, 2018.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran does not at the current stage consider itself committed to observing restrictions regarding storing enriched uranium stocks and heavy water stocks,” the council said.

“The remaining parties to the (deal) are given 60 days to implement their commitments, in particular in the fields of banking and oil,” it added.




 

Eagle1

Senior Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Nov 17, 2017
Messages
3,251
Reaction score
2,255
Iran tells Russia its partial roll back of nuclear deal is legal
8 May 2019

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told his Russian counterpart on Wednesday that Tehran’s decision to reduce some voluntary commitments within its nuclear deal with world powers was legal, the RIA news agency reported.

Zarif, in Moscow for talks, told Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov that Iran’s actions did not violate the original terms of the nuclear agreement and that Tehran now had 60 days to take the necessary diplomatic steps.

Iran announced earlier on Wednesday it was scaling back curbs to its nuclear program under a 2015 deal with world powers, and threatened to do more - including enriching uranium to a higher level - if countries did not shield it from US sanctions.

Kremlin blames US

Earlier on Wednesday the Kremlin said that Iran had been provoked into rolling back some of the terms of a 2015 nuclear deal due to external pressure which it blamed on the United States.

“President Putin has repeatedly spoken of the consequences of un-thought-out steps regarding Iran and by that I mean the decision taken by Washington (to quit the deal). Now we are seeing those consequences are starting to happen,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on a conference call.

Peskov was speaking as talks in Moscow between avad Zarif and Lavrov got underway.

Peskov said Russia wanted to keep the nuclear deal alive and that its diplomats were doing all they could behind the scenes in talks with European officials to try to save it.

Asked if Russia might be ready to join other countries in imposing new sanctions against Iran over its partial roll back on the deal, Peskov said: “For now, we need to soberly analyze the situation and exchange views on this. The situation is serious.”

 

Eagle1

Senior Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Nov 17, 2017
Messages
3,251
Reaction score
2,255
UK says Iran will face consequences if it breaks nuclear deal
8 May 2019

Britain said Iran would face consequences if it backed away from its nuclear deal, following Tehran’s announcement on Wednesday that it was scaling back curbs to its nuclear program that had been agreed under a 2015 deal with world powers.

“Today’s announcement from Tehran is ... an unwelcome step,” junior foreign office minister Mark Field told Britain’s parliament. “We are not at this stage talking about re-imposing sanctions, but one has to remember that they were, of course, lifted in exchange for the nuclear restrictions.”

A year after Washington pulled out of the nuclear deal, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani unveiled measures that do not appear to violate its terms yet but could do so in the future if Iran were to persist on the course he set out.

“Should Iran cease meeting its nuclear commitments, there would, of course, be consequences,” Field said.

Germany: Work on Iran SPV taking time
Work on setting up a special purpose vehicle (SPV) for business with Iran is taking longer than expected, a German government spokesman said on Wednesday.

“Currently, the last steps need to be taken for this corporation to be able to operate – that includes Iran making the necessary preparations on its side,” spokesman Steffen Seibert told a regular government news conference.

 

Eagle1

Senior Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Nov 17, 2017
Messages
3,251
Reaction score
2,255
France wants to keep Iran nuclear deal alive, warns Tehran over negative actions
08 May 2019
Reuters

  • France warned that if Iran were to not keep to its commitments then the question of triggering a mechanism that could lead to sanctions would be on the table
  • Other European countries also said that they will reimpose sanctions on Iran if it reneges on commitments under its nuclear deal
France’s defence minister said on Wednesday it wanted to keep the Iran 2015 nuclear deal alive and warned that if Iran were to not keep to its commitments then the question of triggering a mechanism that could lead to sanctions would be on the table.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani earlier threatened to resume high level enrichment of uranium if world powers did not keep their promises under the agreement.

Speaking to BFM TV, Florence Parly said nothing would be worse than Iran withdrawing from the deal and that France, Britain and Germany were doing all they could to keep the accord alive.

Meanwhile, China’s foreign ministry said the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement should be fully implemented and all sides have a responsibility to ensure it happens. Foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang made the remarks during a daily briefing.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed not to allow Iran to acquire nuclear arms after the Islamic republic said it would abandon limits on its nuclear activities agreed in a 2015 deal.

“This morning on my way here I heard that Iran intends to continue its nuclear programme,” Netanyahu said at a ceremony on Israel’s annual day of remembrance for its fallen soldiers and civilian victims of militant attacks.

“We shall not allow Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon,” he said in Hebrew.

However, Russia said it stood by the Iran nuclear deal and denounced US pressure that led to Tehran to suspend some of its commitments under the agreement.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said President Vladimir Putin remained committed to the agreement and that there were no alternatives “at the moment” to the deal.

“Putin has repeatedly spoken about the consequences of ill-considered steps towards Iran, meaning the decision taken by Washington” to reimpose sanctions, Peskov said.

He said Russia would work with European countries to maintain the “continued viability” of the nuclear deal and that it was too early to discuss the possibility of Russia joining sanctions against Tehran.

“Putin has said that it is ill-conceived and arbitrary decisions that put unreasonable pressure on Iran and cause the adverse steps that we are facing.”

Reimpose sanctions
Other European countries said on Tuesday that they will reimpose sanctions on Iran if it reneges on commitments under its nuclear deal, a source at the French presidency said on Tuesday, after Tehran said it would scale back its compliance a year after Washington pulled out.

Iran dismissed a US announcement of the deployment of an aircraft carrier to the Middle East as old news, recycled for psychological warfare, and said it would soon announce plans to roll back some of its commitments under the 2015 deal.

Tensions have risen on the eve of the anniversary of President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the nuclear deal, under which Iran agreed to curbs on its nuclear program in return for the lifting of international sanctions.

The Trump administration has restored US sanctions and extended them, effectively ordering countries around the world to stop buying Iranian oil or face sanctions of their own.

Washington’s European allies, which oppose the US pull-out, have tried and failed to come up with ways to blunt the economic impact of the US move while urging Iran to continue to comply.

‘Psychological warfare’
US national security adviser John Bolton said on Sunday the United States was deploying the Abraham Lincoln carrier strike group and a bomber task force to the Middle East in a warning over threats by Iranian forces.

But Keyvan Khosravi, spokesman for Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, said the Abraham Lincoln was already due in the Gulf and dismissed the announcement as a “clumsy” attempt to recycle old news for “psychological warfare.”

The United States typically rotates an aircraft carrier in the Gulf to serve as the flagship of its Fifth Fleet based in Bahrain. The previous carrier in the area, the John C Stennis, left in April to sail for home at the end of its deployment.

Acting US Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said on Monday he had approved dispatching the carrier strike group and bombers due to indications of a “credible threat by Iranian regime forces.” He gave no details of underlying intelligence.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Twitter: “If US and clients don’t feel safe, it’s because they’re despised by the people of the region — blaming Iran won’t reverse that.”

Iran’s state-run Press TV earlier said: “The deployment seems to be a ‘regularly scheduled’ one by the US Navy, and Bolton has just tried to talk it up.”

A military adviser to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said the United States was “neither willing nor capable” of military action against Iran,” the semi-official news agency ISNA reported.

As jitters over the war of words rose, Iran’s rial currency extended its fall on Tuesday, hovering around a seven-month low of 150,500 against the US dollar on the unofficial market, foreign exchange websites reported.

Since withdrawing from the nuclear deal, Washington has given waivers to some countries, mainly in Asia, to keep buying Iranian oil for a limited time. But last week it said it would now end the waivers to reduce Iran’s crude exports to zero.

The administration also blacklisted Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard Corps as terrorists. The Guards control a large swathe of Iranian industry, so their blacklisting could make it harder for foreign companies to do business with Iran.

Iran has responded by declaring all US forces in the Middle East to be terrorists. It has also made threats to close the strategic Strait of Hormuz in the Gulf if Tehran were barred from using it. Around 30 percent of the world’s seaborne oil exports pass through the strait.

While neither Shanahan nor Bolton elaborated on the gist of US intelligence, other US officials told Reuters there were “multiple, credible threats” against US forces on land, including in Iraq, by Iran and proxy forces, and at sea.


 

Eagle1

Senior Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Nov 17, 2017
Messages
3,251
Reaction score
2,255
Zarif Suggests Establishing Security Zone on Turkish Borders
08 May, 2019


Moscow – Raed Jabr

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has met today (Wednesday) with his Iranian counterpart Mohammed Javad Zarif in Moscow.

Their meeting focused on developments in Syria, especially in the northern region, Ankara’s willingness to establish a security zone along its borders with the war-torn country, and the Iranian nuclear crisis.

The two parties seek “coordinating positions” on international and regional issues, especially in regards to the Syrian crisis, according to Russia’s Foreign Ministry.

“The two ministers have also discussed the current situation of the multifaceted relations between Russia and Iran and the concrete steps to continue their progress,” the statement added.

Zarif paved the way for his discussions in Moscow by emphasizing that “Syria’s stability and security are linked to securing the Syrian-Turkish border, taking into account ending Ankara's legitimate concern.”

He stressed that “good relations among regional countries are beneficial to the whole region, noting that fixing relations between Ankara and Damascus lies in the region and the countries’ interest.

This indicated a previous suggestion by Tehran to play a role in opening communication channels between Turkey and the Syrian government.

When asked about Washington’s relationship with Kurds and its current understandings with Ankara about the “safe zone” in the north, Zarif said Iran had to wait more and monitor future developments.

“It is not yet time to provide a detailed analysis of Washington's intention to withdraw from Syria.”

Meanwhile, Chief of the Russian Reconciliation Center for the Opposing Sides in Syria Major General Viktor Kupchishin told a press conference that Hmeymim air base was shelled from multiple launch rocket systems on Monday.

“Both times, fire was delivered from the eastern direction from the area of Zawiya settlement located in the Idlib de-escalation zone and controlled by the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham group (Nusra Front, banned in Russia),” Kupchishin explained.

“In total, 36 rockets were fired,” he added, noting that the militants fired using a drone.

He said the attack had been repelled by the air defense forces on duty, adding there were no deaths or destruction at the air base and that all the points from where militants had been firing their rockets were detected and suppressed by Russian Aerospace Forces and artillery fire of the Syrian regime troops.



 

Eagle1

Senior Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Nov 17, 2017
Messages
3,251
Reaction score
2,255
US Slaps New Sanctions on Iran as Tehran Suspends Some Parts of Nuclear Deal
May 08, 2019

President Donald Trump imposed new sanctions Wednesday on Iran, hours after the Iranian president said he was pulling out of parts of the 2015 nuclear deal struck with world powers.

Trump said in an executive order there would be new sanctions on Iranian metal exports: steel, aluminum, copper and iron.

U.S. sanctions on Iranian oil, its No. 1 moneymaker, have had a devastating effect on its economy. Iran's metal industry is another major source of income.

"Because of our action, the Iranian regime is struggling to fund its campaign of violent terror, as its economy heads into an unprecedented depression, government revenue dries up and inflation spirals out of control," Trump said. "We are successfully imposing the most powerful maximum pressure campaign ever witnessed, which today's action will further strengthen. Tehran can expect further actions unless it fundamentally alters its conduct."

Tensions between Iran and the United States have grown in the past week. The Pentagon sent aircraft carriers and nuclear-capable bombers to the region, accusing Iran of threatening U.S forces and planning "imminent" attacks.

Call for European help

Earlier Wednesday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani announced he was backing out of parts of the nuclear deal and would take further action in 60 days if European nations did not help Iran deal with the effects of U.S. sanctions.

Rouhani said if there was no sanctions relief within 60 days, Iran would resume uranium enrichment at higher levels.

Rouhani's announcement came exactly one year after Trump pulled the U.S. out of the entire nuclear agreement between Iran and Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia, plus the European Union. Under the deal, Iran cut its uranium enrichment in exchange for economic benefits from sanctions relief, which it has yet to see.

"If the five countries join negotiations and help Iran to reach its benefits in the field of oil and banking, Iran will return to its commitments according to the nuclear deal," Rouhani said. "We felt the deal needed surgery and that the yearlong sedatives have not delivered any result. This surgery is meant to save the deal, not destroy it."

For now, Iran will stop selling enriched uranium and heavy water, which it had been doing to reduce its stockpiles.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Iran's announcement to suspend compliance was "intentionally ambiguous."

"We'll have to wait to see what Iran's actions actually are," Pompeo said in London. "They've made a number of statements on actions they intend to do in order to get the world to jump. We'll see what they actually do."

Brian Hook, a top Pompeo adviser on Iran, accused Iran of "nuclear blackmail."

France and Germany said Wednesday that they were determined to keep the nuclear agreement alive.

French Defense Minister Florence Parly said "nothing would be worse than Iran leaving this deal."

Trump called nuclear accord a terrible deal, saying it was only temporary, did nothing about Iranian ballistic missiles and did not punish Iran for what he said was the country's involvement in terrorism and Middle East conflicts.

 
Top