IAEA: Iran’s heavy water reserves exceed limit
US to end sanction waivers for Iran’s Fordo nuclear facility
Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani warned Tuesday that the collapse of the 2015 nuclear deal would be detrimental to the world.
“The collapse of the nuclear agreement would be to the detriment of the world and that everyone should pay attention to important issues and interests of the world,” Rouhani told Australia’s new Ambassador to Iran Lyndall Sachs at a meeting in Tehran.
The president said Iran still remains committed to the nuclear deal, even though the US unilaterally withdrew from it and the Europeans failed or were unwilling to fulfill their obligations.
President Donald Trump pulled the US out from the nuclear agreement – known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) – in May 2018, and a year after Iran began reducing its commitments in a bid to win concessions from those still party to the accord.
Washington says its “maximum pressure” will force Iran to negotiate a broader deal that will also include its role in Middle East. Tehran says it will not negotiate until sanctions are lifted.
The deal was reached in 2015 with Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia, the United States and the European Union.
Iran has accused European nations of hypocrisy over the nuclear deal.
Rouhani described the US sanctions as “a major political and economic mistake” and “a violation of international law and resolutions.”
He called on the international community to confront US sanctions.
“It is everyone's legal duty to confront illegal US sanctions,” Rouhani said.
The Australian envoy said the Iran nuclear deal is important for maintaining peace and security development in the Middle East.
“We believe that everyone must abide by their commitments [to the deal] and work within the nuclear deal's mechanism for confidence-building in the world,” she said.
Iran’s heavy water reserves
The UN nuclear watchdog said Monday that Iran's stock of heavy water for reactors has surpassed the limit set under its agreement with world powers.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said in a report to member states that it had been informed by Iran on Nov. 16 that its heavy water production plant was in operation and that its stock of heavy water reserves was 131.5 metric tons, above the 130-metric-ton limit.
In Vienna, an IAEA spokesperson said, "On November 17, the agency verified that the Heavy Water Production Plant (HWPP) was in operation and that Iran’s stock of heavy water was 131.5 metric tons."
US to end waivers
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in Washington on Monday that the US will lift sanctions waivers on Iran's Fordo nuclear facility, citing the resumption of uranium enrichment activities at the site already announced by Tehran.
"The United States will terminate the sanctions waiver related to the nuclear facility at Fordo effective December 15, 2019," Pompeo told a news conference.
"There is no legitimate reason for Iran to resume enrichment at this previously clandestine site. Iran should reverse its activity there immediately," he said.
His comments came more than a week after Tehran announced the resumption of uranium enrichment at the site as part of its measure to scale back compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal over other signatories’ failure to fulfill their obligations.
The Trump administration has still granted waivers to let other nations implement the nuclear deal, which was negotiated under former president Barack Obama, without facing penalties in the United States.
Critics of Trump have said that the waivers proved the administration saw the benefits of the deal, which sharply expanded access for international inspectors. Iran had been in compliance before the US withdrawal.
US waivers remain in place for other nuclear sites including Bushehr, a nuclear power plant off the Persian Gulf coast being developed with Russia under safeguards.
Earlier this month, the IAEA confirmed that Iran has ramped up uranium enrichment, feeding uranium hexafluoride gas into previously mothballed enrichment centrifuges at Fordo, an underground plant south of Tehran.
That allows for the production of the most fissile isotope, Uranium 235.
Britain, France, Germany, and the European Union said Iran's decision was "inconsistent" with the nuclear deal.
Iran says the European signatories — Britain, France, and Germany— have so far failed to uphold their commitments. They have expressed vocal support for the deal, but failed to provide meaningful economic incentives as required under the nuclear agreement.
Since September, Iran has also been producing enriched uranium at a facility in Natanz.
It has exceeded a 300-kilogram limit on stocks of enriched uranium and has crossed a uranium enrichment cap of 3.67 percent.
Iran has always insisted that its nuclear program is exclusively peaceful and that acquiring nuclear weapons would be contrary to Islamic principles.
AFP, Reuters and Press TV contributed to this story.