Iran announces partial withdrawal of nuclear deal, sparks tension in region

Tehran, Agencies | Updated : 08 May 2019, 02:48 PM

Iran will no longer respect limits it agreed on its enriched uranium and heavy water stocks under a 2015 nuclear deal with major powers, officials said on Wednesday. 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. It was referring to the commitment made by Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia to lift sanctions on Iran in return for it curbing its nuclear activities.

The five countries have largely failed to deliver on their side of the bargain as their banks and oil firms have moved to abide by the sweeping sanctions reimposed by Washington over the past year on Iran's banking and oil sectors.

Meanwhile, China on Wednesday called on all parties to uphold the Iranian nuclear pact after Tehran said it would end curbs on its uranium enrichment stockpile unless other powers helped it bypass renewed US sanctions. "Maintaining and implementing the comprehensive agreement is the shared responsibility of all parties," said Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang at a regular press briefing. "We call on all relevant parties to exercise restraint, strengthen dialogue, and avoid escalating tensions," he said, adding that China "resolutely opposes" unilateral US sanctions against Iran.

China is one of six parties that signed a 2015 deal to lift nuclear-related sanctions on Iran in return for Tehran's agreement to rein in nuclear activities and ease fears it was seeking the capability to produce an atomic bomb. Iran's Wednesday announcement that it would stop respecting limits on its nuclear activities is part of a package of measures in response to sweeping unilateral sanctions reimposed by Washington in the 12 months since it quit the agreement.

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

First Published: Wednesday, May 08, 2019 02:29 PM
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