Iran is now enriching more uranium than before the 2015 deal with major world powers to curb its nuclear program, placing the broken agreement in further jeopardy, claimed Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in a speech.
“We are enriching more uranium before the deal was reached … Pressure has increased on Iran but we continue to progress,” Rouhani said on Thursday in a televised speech, referring to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the official name for the 2015 deal brokered by the Obama administration. He did not elaborate on how much more uranium is being enriched.
The deal was signed by the United States, Russia, China, France, Germany, and the United Kingdom in a group known as the P5 + 1 after several years’ worth of negotiations. President Donald Trump has long been a critic of the agreement and directed the United States to withdraw in 2018, while noting that the reduction in sanctions included in the deal has allowed Tehran to pursue its military aspirations in the Middle East.
Over the past five years, Iran has gradually scaled back on its commitments, and in early January, Tehran announced it would no longer abide by its limits after the United States carried out an airstrike that killed Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani. The Islamic regime has repeatedly breached the terms of the deal over the years.
Germany, France, and the United Kingdom announced they would trigger a mediation and called on Iran to meet its commitments.
“We have therefore been left with no choice, given Iran’s actions, but to register today our concerns that Iran is not meeting its commitments,” the foreign ministers wrote earlier this week. However, the three foreign ministers of the country said they would remain committed to the agreement.
Rouhani on Thursday accused the three European countries and the United States of backing away from the accord. “We didn’t sit around, when they (P5+1) reduced their commitment (to JCPOA), we also reduced our commitment,” Rouhani said. “I’d like to say the current situation is not an easy one, but we are aware that world security, world politics and the world economy are closely connected,” he added.
The European Union’s top diplomat Josep Borrell, on Thursday held a “frank dialogue” with Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in New Delhi, India, according to the EU. “Both partners agreed to remain in close touch and continue their engagement in the coming weeks,” it said in the statement.
Tensions between Washington and Tehran escalated after Soleimani’s death, which the United States said was in retaliation for Iran-backed proxy militia attacks on U.S. assets in Iraq that led to the death of an American contractor. President Donald Trump and other top Defense Department officials have said intelligence was obtained that showed Soleimani was planning attacks on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and American facilities.
Iran, in retaliation, fired around 20 missiles at Iraqi bases holding American troops and personnel. The next day, Trump, after announcing that there were no injuries or deaths in the attack, opted for more sanctions on Iran, rather than military escalation, targeting several top-level officials and its industry.