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Iran eyes possible exit from nuclear deal, official says

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei says President Donald Trump's speech announcing U.S. withdrawal from a nuclear deal with Iran was "silly and superficial;" May 9, 2018. (SalamPix/Abaca Press/TNS)
June 25, 2018
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Iran may formally withdraw from the nuclear deal in the coming weeks, as European participants of the agreement struggle to piece together better terms.

Iranian officials reaffirmed their intentions of preserving the accord but have grown frustrated with Europe’s lack of action, RT recently reported.

Following the United States’ decision to leave back in May, Iran said that the deal has “lost its balance.”

Abbas Araghchi, spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said in an interview that “if Europeans and other remaining participants of the JCPOA [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action] are interested in Iran remaining in the deal, they should compensate [for] the absence of the U.S., and the re-imposition of U.S. sanctions.”

The European Union is currently examining options that might entice Iran, including deepening European economic ties, shielding banking transactions, and maintaining Iranian oil and gas purchases. The EU may also consider boosting financial investments in Iran.

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With the EU seeking to introduce some new terms for Tehran, some European leaders express a desire to expand the scope of the nuclear deal in exchange for such offerings.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron would like the agreement to cover Iran’s ballistic missile program and involvement in regional conflicts. In response, Iranian leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said that “limiting our missile development is a dream that will never come true.”

If the deal falls through, Iran has repeatedly said it would promptly revitalize its uranium-enrichment program.

Khamenei already ordered the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) to prepare a facility in Natanz for resuming the enrichment process this month in anticipation of the nuclear deal failing.

According to Iranian officials, the Natanz facility could be capable of housing 60 enrichment centrifuges in a month.

For now, resuming the enrichment process in Natanz does not violate the current terms of the nuclear agreement. Iran is allowed to enrich small amounts of uranium for research purposes. However, Iran said it is papered to open a second uranium-enrichment facility as soon as the deal collapses.

President Trump announced the U.S. would withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal back in May.

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Trump has for years called the accord one of the “worst deals in history” and “one-sided,” and ultimately followed through with his campaign promise to take the U.S. out of the deal.

The fate of the deal now rests in the hands of the European allies who have been tasked with salvaging anything they can while ensuring Iran refrains from full-fledged uranium enrichment.

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