The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is aware of Iran’s statement to start enriching uranium above the 3.67% limit set by the Iranian nuclear deal and is checking this information, the UN nuclear watchdog told TASS on Monday.
"We are aware of Iran’s announcement related to its uranium enrichment level. IAEA inspectors in Iran will report to our headquarters as soon as they verify the announced development," the UN nuclear watchdog said.
Iranian Atomic Energy Organization Spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi told Iran’s ISNA news agency on Monday that the Islamic Republic had enriched uranium above the level of 4.5%
Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi earlier stated that the Islamic Republic was switching to the second stage of reducing its commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) from July 7 and starting to enrich uranium beyond the level of 3.67% Tehran intends to reach the uranium enrichment level of 5% soon, which, as it says, is required for building power units at the Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant. As the Iranian deputy foreign minister said, Iran will be scaling down its commitments under the JCPOA every 60 days, if the parties to the nuclear deal fail to fulfil the accords.
UN nuclear watchdog’s special session
The IAEA Board of Governors will convene a special session on July 10 to discuss the situation around the Iran nuclear dossier. The request for holding the session has been sent by the US permanent mission at international organizations in Vienna, which believes that the international community should bring the Iranian authorities to account after their steps to depart from the nuclear deal.
The IAEA earlier informed that Iran had exceeded the limit of 300 kg of low-enriched uranium allowed by the nuclear deal. IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano earlier reported this information to the agency’s Board of Governors.
As Russia’s Permanent Representative at International Organizations in Vienna Mikhail Ulyanov stated, Iran’s deviations from the JCPOA are not a breach while the IAEA Board of Governors is not the most appropriate place for discussing this issue.
Iran nuclear deal
In 2015, Iran and six major powers (five member states of the United Nations Security Council - Russia, the United States, France, the United Kingdom and China - and Germany) agreed on the final Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, which particularly stipulated the removal of sanctions imposed on Tehran over its nuclear program.
The deal limited Tehran’s nuclear development work in exchange for lifting the UN sanctions and unilateral US and EU restrictions. Iran undertook not to enrich uranium above 3.67% within 15 years and keep the stocks of enriched uranium at the level of no more 300 kg. Iran also assumed commitments not to build additional heavy water reactors, not to accumulate heavy water and not to engage in developing nuclear charges.
On May 8, 2018, US President Donald Trump announced Washington’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal. He said that old sanctions on Iran would be restored and new ones would be introduced in case Tehran attempted to pursue its nuclear ambitions.
The first batch of new US sanctions on Iran took effect on August 7 and the second one became effective on November 5. In contrast, Great Britain, Germany and France called on other participants in the deal to continue fulfilling it. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that Moscow would seek to maintain the agreement.
On May 8, 2019, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani announced that Tehran was reducing its commitments under the JCPOA. He pointed out that the other signatories, primarily EU countries, had failed to fulfill their economic obligations under the deal, making it irrelevant. Rouhani said they had two months to return to compliance. The deadline expired on July 7.