Iran set to begin 'unlimited' nuclear research and development
Iran is set to begin on Friday unlimited nuclear research and development work, as part of what it describes as a "measured step" to scale back its commitment to the 2015 nuclear deal, without declaring an outright withdrawal.
On Thursday, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif officially informed European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini that Tehran was acting in response to "the European countries' failure" to defend the agreement amid continued pressure from the US, Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi was quoted by Iranian media as saying.
Mousavi denounced the "widespread and continued violations" of the deal since the 2018 US withdrawal, while saying that within Article 36 of the agreement, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Tehran had the right to respond in case of non-compliance by other signatories.
Mousavi said Iran would soon inform the United Nations nuclear watchdog body of the "technical and operational" aspects of its actions related to the nuclear research and development.
At the same time, Mousavi said that the diplomatic door remained open and that the reduction of its JCPOA commitments could be reversed as soon as the other parties to the agreement fulfilled their part of the bargain.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani first announced the so-called "third-step" response on Wednesday.
"The atomic energy organisation [of Iran] is ordered to immediately start whatever is needed in the field of research and development, and abandon all the commitments that were in place regarding research and development."
The nuclear deal - agreed on by Iran, China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, the US and the EU - gave Tehran sanctions relief in exchange for accepting curbs on its nuclear programme.
Since the US unilaterally withdrew from the deal in May 2018 and reimposed sanctions in a "maximum pressure" campaign on Iran, Tehran has insisted it wants to save the pact but that the remaining signatories - especially Europe - must provide additional economic support.
That includes Iran's demand for Europe to continue buying its oil after the US reimposed sanctions.
Iran in July also reduced two other nuclear commitments: to keep its stockpile of enriched uranium below 300kg and a 3.67 percent cap on the purity of its uranium stocks. Those steps are also allowed within the JCPOA.Al Jazeera's Dorsa Jabbari, reporting from Tehran, said the latest move meant that Iran was serious about not staying in the deal by themselves.
Al Jazeera and news agencies