Rouhani: Iran moving to ‘third, highly important step’ away from nuclear accord

“We will announce Iran’s third step, which is highly important in nature and will accelerate the activities of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran,” said Rouhani.

By World Israel News Staff 

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Wednesday that his country and Europe are unlikely to reach an agreement on ways to save the 2015 nuclear accord and that Tehran will go ahead with its plan to announce an additional step in scaling back its commitments in the nuclear agreement, reported the Iranian Press TV.

“It is unlikely that we will reach a result with Europe today or tomorrow. We will announce Iran’s third step, which is highly important in nature and will accelerate the activities of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI),” Rouhani was quoted as saying by his deputy chief of staff for communications and information, Parviz Esmaeili, on Wednesday, according to Press TV.

Iran reportedly has rejected an offer by European countries of a $15 billion loan aimed at protecting the Islamic Republic’s economy from sanctions that have been reimposed by the United States following President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and six world powers, including the U.S. under President Barack Obama.

The Iranian rejection was reported Wednesday morning after Abbas Araqchi, Iran’s deputy foreign minister for political affairs, had told reporters on Tuesday that “our return to the full implementation of the nuclear accord is subject to the receipt of $15 billion over a four-month period; otherwise the process of reducing Iran’s commitments will continue.”

France has been leading efforts to salvage the nuclear deal. Tehran has been accusing European countries of not acting to save the pact after Trump’s pullout.

Iran’s main violation so far to protest the reimposition of American sanctions has been to stockpile highly enriched uranium toward attaining a military capability. Proponents of the 2015 deal said that in exchange for the lifting of sanctions, Iran would be prevented from the ability to construct a nuclear bomb.

Foreign Minister Mohammad-Javad Zarif said that the Iran nuclear deal is not dead yet and it is too soon to talk about its end, reported the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA), but that the Europeans were not able to fulfill their commitments to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), as the nuclear pact is officially known.

“Unfortunately, the Europeans have not been able to put their money where their mouth is. They have been stating their support for the JCPOA but they have not been prepared to take the risks and to invest in order to maintain a great achievement of diplomacy,” Zarif is quoted by IRNA as telling Russia Today on Tuesday.