TEHRAN (FNA)- The Iranian government issued a statement on the fifth and last step in scaling down its operational commitments under the nuclear deal of 2015, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), announcing that it has removed the cap on the number of its centrifuge machines.
The Iranian government announced in the statement on Sunday that from now on, the country will observe no operational limitations on its nuclear industry, including with regard to the capacity and level of uranium enrichment, the amount of enriched materials as well as research and development.
“By taking the fifth step in reducing its commitment, the Islamic Republic of Iran eliminates the last key operational restriction it faced under the JCPOA, which is the limitation imposed on the number of centrifuges,” it said.
The statement emphasized that following this decision, Iran will continue its nuclear program only on the basis of its “technical needs”.
The Iranian government, however, emphasized that it will continue to cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) as was the case in the past, including inspection-related undertakings.
Iran will still comply with the additional protocol and the strict rules of inspection that it undertook under the nuclear deal, which are the only major undertaking left to be removed.
According to the statement, Iran is ready to resume fulfilling its commitments under the landmark nuclear deal if sanctions imposed on the country are removed and it can avail itself of the JCPOA’s benefits.
The statement concluded by obligating the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran to take all necessary measures within framework of this decision in coordination with President Hassan Rouhani.
Iran had so far rowed back on its nuclear commitments four times in compliance with Articles 26 and 36 of the JCPOA, but stressed that its retaliatory measures will be reversible as soon as the European signatories — France, Britain and Germany — find practical ways to shield mutual trade from the US sanctions.
Head of the Atomic Energy Agency of Iran (AEOI) Ali Akbar Salehi warned the European signatories to the landmark 2015 nuclear deal that security repercussions of activating the “trigger mechanism” will serve nobody’s interests.
In a press conference on the sidelines of a ceremony last Monday, held to launch the second circuit of Iran’s Arak heavy water reactor, which is located near the central Iranian city of Khondab, Salehi said that if the European signatories to the JCPOA, activate the “trigger mechanism” to mount pressure on Iran, it will mean the demise of the deal.
Under the nuclear deal, signed between Iran and the P5+1 countries (the United States, Britain, France, China, Russia and Germany), Tehran agreed to remove the core of the Arak reactor and fill it with concrete provided that the other parties to the accord redesign it for the production of medical isotopes, which they did not.
The reactor consists of two circuits, with the first one tasked with removing heat from the heart of the reactor, and the secondary circuit responsible for transferring heat from the first circuit to cooling towers and finally to the outside environment.
“Europe wants the JCPOA to survive. The JCPOA is of security importance to them, but whether this demand is commensurate with their ability (to resist US pressures) is a different issue. The ability of Europe depends on its resistance against the United States, but unfortunately they have proven that the 28 (member) states (of the European Union) are less resistant and independent than a single (US) state like California,” Iran’s nuclear chief said.
Salehi added that if European countries seek to activate the trigger mechanism, it would be against their will, adding, “If the trigger mechanism is activated, nothing will be left of the JCPOA. This is a contradiction in the Europeans’ discourse.”
Expressing the hope that Europe would amend this discourse, Salehi said, “We hope that this European discourse is rectified, because this discourse will put Europe on the same level with an untrustworthy America.”
“Europe’s prestige has been tarnished before the world’s public opinion and they must not do more damage to this prestige. All parties must try to help the JCPOA survive,” Iran’s nuclear chief said.
Elsewhere in his interview, Salehi said that a possible reporting of Iran’s nuclear case to the United Nations Security Council would not serve the interests of anyone, warning that in that case, regional and international relations would change, leading to unpredictable repercussions.
He added that if the three European parties to the JCPOA fail to fulfill their obligations under the deal, Iran will make a proportionate decision, but “we hope that the opposite side will make a decision and carry out a measure that will prevent further complication of the issue.”