Tehran, Iran – Iran has begun supplying gas to cascades of new centrifuges when its top diplomat proposed a new round of negotiations in Vienna to restore the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers.
Behrouz Kamalvandi, spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), told state television Monday evening that the order had been given to begin feeding gas into “hundreds” of the IR-1 and advanced IR-6 machines of the United States. first generation.
He said the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) was aware of the move, which Kamalvandi said is in line with a December 2020 parliament law that demanded increased uranium enrichment using advanced machinery until such time as unilateral United States sanctions are imposed. States are abolished.
This came hours after Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian said Tehran is reviewing what was announced last week as a final proposed text by European Union head of foreign policy Josep Borrell to negotiate negotiations. which started in April 2021 in the Austrian capital.
“We have announced our readiness so that the delegations of Iran, 4+1 and the US can – indirectly – continue their talks in Vienna within a certain time to pursue results,” said Amirabdollahian, referring to the nuclear deal parties China, Russia , France, Germany and the United Kingdom.
Negotiations in Vienna to reinstate the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), as the deal is formally known, were paused in March after most of the issues had been resolved, leaving only a handful of key points to be decided. politics.
But indirect negotiations between Tehran and Washington have since stalled, and a two-day round of talks in Qatar in late June also ended without progress. It is still unclear whether the US and its European allies will agree to a new round of talks, as the EU has called for a final political decision on its proposed text.
For his part, Iran’s foreign minister reiterated on Monday that Tehran wants its “red lines” to be considered in a possible deal, which he said could become a reality if Washington shows “flexibility” and a “realistic” approach.
Speaking at a conference in New York on Monday aimed at reviewing the Parties to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said a restored JCPOA remains the “best outcome” for global non-proliferation.
The US unilaterally withdrew from the deal in 2018 under former President Donald Trump and imposed heavy sanctions that have since been enforced and expanded by President Joe Biden.
The Biden administration on Monday imposed new sanctions to crack down on Iran’s petrochemical exports, a move the Iranian Foreign Ministry denounced as a continuation of the “failed US maximum-pressure policy” and also because it came as dozens of Iranians have died as a result of flash floods across the country.
‘Able, but not planning to make a bomb’
At the same conference, IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi said that if Tehran wants to prove the peacefulness of its nuclear program, it must provide “complete information” to the agency.
“The lack of progress in verifying the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program will have implications for the regional security landscape,” he said.
Iran dismantled 27 cameras of the JCPOA in June after a resolution censoring inadequate cooperation with the agency was tabled by the US, UK, France and Germany and passed by the agency’s board of directors.
The developments come as several senior Iranian officials have said in recent weeks that Iran has the technical prowess to make an atomic bomb, but has no plans to do so.
Iranian nuclear chief Mohammad Eslami was widely quoted by the Iranian media on Monday, but AOEI spokesman Kamalvandi quickly tried to clarify, saying that Eslami was “misunderstood and misjudged” by the media when he said so.
“Iran’s strategic potential and military might are deterrent enough to fend off foreign threats, making it pointless for the country to design and develop nuclear weapons,” Kamalvandi said.
But two other figures, advisers to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei — Kamal Kharrazi and Mohammad Javad Larijani — have said in the past month that Iran has the capability but no plan to build nuclear weapons, pointing to new rhetoric in Tehran’s posts. to the West.
Iran’s official position remains that it has never sought and will never seek a bomb, in accordance with a statement by the supreme leader.