Trump Should Extend Iran Sanctions Relief on May 19: AEOI Chief

Trump Should Extend Iran Sanctions Relief on May 19: AEOI Chief

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Ali Akbar Salehi underlined that Washington has to extend the suspension of US nuclear-related sanctions against Iran as a commitment under the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and world power.

“Mr Trump is currently making loud statements; and it is not clear what decision he wants to take. [But] he has to suspend the sanctions statute once again on May 19,” Salehi said Monday in response to recent rhetoric from Washington.

“If he doesn’t, an explicit non-performance of the JCPOA will have occurred; everyone agrees about that,” he added, referring to the nuclear deal.

He reiterated that the US should suspend the specific sanctions that it has undertaken to suspend under the international deal, which has been endorsed in a UN Security Council resolution, as well.

Many of the other parties to the deal have declared that they would not be supporting unilateral US action concerning the multilateral deal, Salehi further stated.

The US rhetoric has raised concern that Washington may not extend the sanctions relief — one of its commitments under the deal— despite verified Iranian commitment to the deal.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said recently Washington is reviewing whether offering such sanctions relief “is vital to the national security interests of the United States.”

US President Donald Trump, who has long ostensibly opposed the deal negotiated under his predecessor but who has not walked away from it, has also recently stepped up his rhetoric against the agreement.

Iran had a range of sanctions by the US, the United Nations (UN), and the European Union (EU) terminated after it reached the deal — known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) — with the Group 5+1 (Russia, China, the US, Britain, France, and Germany) in Vienna in 2015.

A part of the termination of the sanctions comes in the form of the US issuing and extending waivers of certain statutory sanctions provisions. To do that, the US routinely does its own verification of Iranian commitment to the JCPOA and also relies on verification by the UN’s atomic body. A next round of such sanctions relief extension is due in May. And both the US and the UN have verified Iranian compliance.

The remarks by the Iranian nuclear chief come as delegations from the parties to the JCPOA are in Vienna for a regular meeting on the deal. On Tuesday, the parties will be holding the seventh meeting of the Iran-G5+1 Joint Commission, which reviews progress on the deal and potential concerns by individual parties.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Salehi said the EU had allocated five million dollars for the enhancement of nuclear safety in Iran.

He said the country had reached an agreement with Russia on bilateral cooperation in building two nuclear reactors in Iran and added that talks were also to be held with the China on the construction of two 100-megawatt power stations in Iran.

Two nuclear plants, he said, would be starting their operations on the ground, adding that a maximum of 10,000 staff members would be recruited in the facilities.

Salehi also said that the potential exports of electricity produced at the 1000-megawatt Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant, which is located in Iran’s south, would award the country some $700 million annually.

If the nuclear industry maintains its current pace of progress, the country’s nuclear organization would attain budgetary self-reliance over the next five or six years, he said. 

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