The Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran (AEOI) announced on Saturday that Tehran had raised the uranium enrichment level to five percent as part of the scaling back of its commitments under the 2015 nuclear deal following the re-imposition of sanctions by the US.
The collapse of the Iranian deal will affect commodity and financial markets, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said on Saturday at a non-proliferation conference in Moscow.
“Neither Iran, nor the US, nor Europe nor the rest of the world can win from the collapse of the deal. A spike in tensions could grow into an open conflict that could ripple across the whole world, affecting the economy and markets. Hopefully, the US understands that,” Ryabkov said.
According to Ryabkov, a hypothetical dismantling of the JCPOA could lead to a new major crisis in the Middle East and Iran understands that.
The official added that any attempts to deprive Iran of the chance to develop a peaceful nuclear programme are nothing but utopian dreams.
“It is clear that some would like Tehran to have no nuclear programme at all, but these are pipe dreams, which are in complete contradiction with the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons,” Ryabkov said.
He also said that it would be hard to restore the viability of the nuclear agreement and it’s unclear what future is in store for the deal in the short term.
Ryabkov stated that Iran will hopefully not obtain nuclear weapons as all the necessary control mechanisms remain in place.
Tehran Says Seeking to Save Nuclear Deal
Meanwhile, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Seyed Abbas Araghchi said at the press conference that Tehran is rolling back its obligations under the 2015 nuclear deal to preserve the accord rather than destroy it, with the relevant right stipulated in the document itself.
“Iran … reduces commitments of the JCPOA based on the paragraph 36 of this deal. We are actually exercising our right in the purposes to save the deal and to protect the deal, not to kill the deal. This is why we have given enough space, two-month space between each step so diplomacy can continue,” Araghchi stated.
Araghchi added that the nuclear deal could collapse before the US 2020 election unless a solution is found in the near future.
According to the official, the US push to drive Iran’s oil sales to zero is actually a “blessing” for the Islamic republic, which should seize it as an opportunity to get rid of dependence on natural resources and diversify the economy.
Paragraph 36 stipulates that a signatory to the deal can cease its commitments “in whole or in part” if an issue that it deems to be constituting “significant non-performance” still remains unresolved as a result of procedures outlined in the accord.
Iran’s Nuclear Obligations
Tehran began gradually reducing its nuclear obligations on the first anniversary of the US unilateral pullout from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal on 8 May. Earlier in the week, Iran embarked on the fourth stage of curtailing its commitments. According to the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, the country plans to enrich uranium to 4.5 percent at the Fordow nuclear facility.
Iran has repeatedly stressed its readiness to reverse these steps if European signatories to the deal ensure the country’s interests, primarily economic, amid Washington’s reinstated sanctions.