Iran will not give Europe more time to shield it against US sanctions

Spokesman of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization Behrouz Kamalvandi said Iran will proceed with what they planned earlier. (File/AFP)
Updated 19 June 2019

Iran will not give Europe more time to shield it against US sanctions

  • Iran gave other signatories 60-days deadline to protect them from US sanctions
  • The country stopped complying with some of the commitments in the agreement since May 2015

LONDON: Iran said on Wednesday it will start enriching uranium at a higher level in July and won’t give European powers any more time to prevent this move by protecting Tehran from US sanctions.
Iran stopped complying in May with some commitments in the 2015 nuclear deal that was agreed with global powers, a year after the United States unilaterally withdrew from the accord and re-introduced sanctions on Tehran.
Iran said in May it would start enriching uranium at a higher level, unless world powers protected its economy from US sanctions within 60 days. The deadline is July 8.
The spokesman for Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, Behrouz Kamalvandi, was quoted as saying by Tasnim news agency as saying: “Iran’s two-month deadline to remaining signatories of the JCPOA (nuclear deal) cannot be extended, and the second phase will be implemented exactly as planned.”
Meanwhile, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said pulling out of some commitments under the nuclear deal was a “minimum” measure that Tehran can take.
In a speech broadcast on the state television, Rouhani said Iran will not negotiate with the United States under pressure.
On May 8, in the first phase of pulling out of some nuclear commitments, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani announced a halt to Iran’s sales of enriched uranium and heavy water to other countries.
The nuclear deal allows such sales so Iran can keep reducing its stockpiles below maximum thresholds.
Iran said on Monday it would breach curbs on its stock of low-enriched uranium in 10 days.
Britain, France and Germany plan a new push to keep Iran in the 2015 nuclear deal despite Tehran’s threat to violate one of its central limits, but they may be nearing the end of the diplomatic road they embarked on more than 15 years ago.
Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh said that Europe was not cooperating with Tehran to buy its oil in the face of US sanctions against Iran's energy sector.
"The Europeans are not cooperating to buy oil," Zanganeh was quoted as saying by Fars news agency.
Worries about a military confrontation between Iran and the United States have mounted since attacks last week on two oil tankers near the Gulf. Washington blamed long-time foe Iran for the incidents but Tehran denies responsibility.
But Iran’s Supreme National Security Council was quoted as saying on Wednesday by state news agency IRNA that there will not be any military confrontation between Iran and the United States.
“There will not be a military confrontation between Iran and America since there is no reason for a war. Accusing other countries has turned into a common practice among US officials as they try to pressure other counties,” Ali Shamkhani said.
Pentagon announced on Monday deployment of about 1,000 more US troops to the Middle East, citing concerns about a threat from Iran.


Israeli lawmakers submit bill to dissolve parliament

Updated 10 min 24 sec ago

Israeli lawmakers submit bill to dissolve parliament

  • Israel has been mired in political deadlock for months
  • Lawmakers from the rival sides together tabled the bill

JERUSALEM: Israeli legislators submitted a bill Tuesday that would dissolve parliament and trigger unprecedented third national elections in less than a year.
Israel has been mired in political deadlock for months.
With the two largest parties, Likud and Blue and White, unable to form a power-sharing agreement ahead of a Wednesday deadline, lawmakers from the rival sides together tabled the bill.
It is expected to go to a vote in parliament on Wednesday, setting the date for the next election on March 2.
“Under the exceptional circumstances that have emerged, and after two adjacent election campaigns in which no government was formed, the dissolution of the 22nd Knesset is being proposed,” the bill reads.
Neither Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu nor his main rival Benny Gantz have been able to form a coalition government after two inconclusive elections. Polls have predicted the third vote is unlikely to produce dramatically different results.
The legislation is something of a formality. The allotted period for forming a government following September’s election expires at midnight on Wednesday. Without a coalition deal, elections would have been automatically triggered later in March.
Each of this year’s elections, and their subsequent coalition jockeying, have largely been a referendum on Netanyahu, who was recently indicted for bribery, breach of trust and fraud in three corruption affairs.
Blue and White’s Gantz has refused to sit in a Netanyahu-led coalition, citing the long-serving leader’s legal troubles. Netanyahu has refused to step down, still overwhelmingly backed by his Likud party and his adoring base.