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Iran threatens 'strong step' away from nuclear deal if Europe offers no new terms

Iran is negotiating with European states to resume sanctions-hit sales of Iranian crude [Getty]

Date of publication: 2 September, 2019

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Iran has said it will move further from the terms of the landmark 2015 nuclear deal if European powers do not offer new terms to revive the accord by Friday.
Iran will "take a strong step" away from its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers if Europe cannot offer the country new terms by a deadline at the end of this week, a government spokesman said on Monday, as top Iranian diplomats travelled to France and Russia for last-minute talks.

The comments from Ali Rabiei reinforced the deadline Iran had set for Friday for Europe to offer it a way to sell its crude oil on the global market.

Crushing US sanctions imposed after President Donald Trump withdrew America from the deal over a year ago have halted those sales.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif was in Moscow, while his deputy was to travel to France with a team of economists on Monday in a renewed diplomatic push.

The developments come after French President Emmanuel Macron surprised the Group of Seven summit in France by inviting Zarif last week.

Rabiei described Iran's strategy to journalists at Monday's press conference in Tehran as "commitment for commitment."

"Iran's oil should be bought and its money should be accessible to return to Iran," Rabiei said. "This is the agenda of our talks."

It's unclear what the terms of negotiation are. In theory, anyone caught buying Iranian crude oil would be subject to US sanctions and potentially locked out of the American financial market.

Read more: Iran unveils new jet-propelled reconnaissance and attack drone

Iran has already exceeded the stockpile and enrichment limitations placed on it by the 2015 deal. However, Tehran says those steps are quickly reversible.

The UN's nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, said on Friday that just over 10 percent of Iran's uranium stockpile was now enriched up to 4.5 percent, above the 3.67 percent limit stipulated in the 2015 deal.

It also said Iran's total stockpile of uranium, which under the accord should be no more than the equivalent of 300 kilograms (661 pounds) of uranium hexafluoride, now stood at roughly 360 kilograms.

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