JCPOA and Countdown to Take “Third” Step

August 28, 2019

Weapon Program: 

  • Nuclear

Tehran, Aug 28, IRNA - The third step in reducing Iran's JCPOA-related obligations is to be taken in ten days, and the ball is now in the court of the remaining parties to prevent the third step with the implementation of INSTEX and similar mechanisms or continue to witness Tehran's gradual withdrawal from the JCPOA.

Iran's deadline for a third step in reducing obligations is expiring, and the parties have until September 6 to meet their obligations under the procedure set by the Islamic Republic.

In this regard, on Tuesday Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who was in Beijing for talks with Chinese officials, in an interview with the Swiss newspaper Tages Ansiger, in response to a question about whether Iran would take third step noted that if Tehran can reach a common understanding with Europe and the Europeans start implementing it, Iran will not take the step.

There are various speculations as to what Tehran will do in its third step. We don't know yet, Zarif said of what would be the third step. One view is that our third step, like the previous two, is to be reversible. Another view is that we have given Europeans 120 days to fulfill obligation so far, but now we are at a time of taking decisive steps.

Not long ago, Atomic Energy Organization of Iran spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi announced that increasing the number of centrifuges, reinstalling IR-2 and IR-2M centrifuges, increasing the number of centrifuges active in the enrichment and 20 percent- enrichment cascades are among the options in step three.

Commenting on the steps taken to re-design the heavy water reactor in Arak, Kamalvandi said that an agreement has been concluded on re-designing of Arak reactor, according to which reactor’s neutron charge should be increased, because the goal of building a research reactor is to produce neutron.

The AEOI spokesman added that although the heavy water reactor was used to produce neutrons, the IAEA argued that its plutonium was high and after consultation it was decided with maintaining the nature of heavy water to reduce plutonium, the reactor’s fuel changes and to change from conventional fuel to enriched fuel; an action that is in line with Iran's demands.

Expressing that Arak heavy water reactor should be re-designed to increase its neutron charge, the official highlighted, "The new reactor can be designed to produce 1 kilogram of plutonium instead of producing 4 kilograms, but the amount of neutrons has multiplied."

The decline in Iran's JCPOA-related commitments began in May this year, which remaining parties did not take any measure, despite the first anniversary of the US withdrawal from the nuclear deal. Even the European members who have long pledged to implement trade-finance mechanisms and have insisted on launching the INSTEX financial channel in the near future are still unable to implement it.

In such circumstances, there were two ways before Iran; the first to violate the nuclear agreement altogether and to withdraw like the United States, and the second was to gradually diminish its commitments; a deliberate solution that blocked the way for propaganda war of the enemies on the one hand who always present Iran as a threat to the security and peace of the region and the world, and on the other hand, did not exclude the opportunity for the JCPOA signatories to return to their obligations.

With such a view, Iran has reduced its obligations under Articles 26 and 36 of the JCPOA which reserves the right for Tehran to suspend, in whole or in part, its obligations, if other parties don not fulfill their obligations.

So far, Iran has taken two steps to reduce commitments under the Supreme National Security Council’s approval; the first step to launch was announced for the first time on July 1 when our Foreign Minister announced increased uranium stockpiles. Tehran, in first step, crossed uranium enrichment reserves beyond the 300kg limit. In the second step, taken in the first days of July Iran increased enrichment from 3.67 percent to 4.5 percent.

According to Iran's nuclear deal, it is allowed to store 300 kg of enriched uranium, with an enrichment of 3.67, which exceeded these levels in the first two steps. Today, the criterion for evaluating Iran’s acting is not the political support and frequent diplomatic visits as we have witnessed in Paris in the past days, but the criterion is the practice, and implementation of the other party's commitments, so as to have a tangible impact on the Iranian economy.

Iran acted on what it had accepted, but it seems that the other side is trying to dictate to Tehran the issues that are clearly stated in the context of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and there is nothing left untold in the deal, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif stated in Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).

Zarif pointed to Iran's commitment to the JCPOA and said that Iran has done what it agreed to, but it seems that the other side is trying to dictate to it the issues while in the JCPOA context it is explicitly stated. "And there is nothing untold in the agreement."

The foreign minister reiterated that since the US left the country, the Europeans have not yet fulfilled their obligations while Iran remains committed.

He added that Iran has a predicted behavior; it must also receive predicted behavior, but the Trump administration does not. Unreasonable American behavior is not predicted, and they behave out of context.

Zarif said that "we were facing a government" that had violated its commitments. "We had resolution 598" about 30 years ago. On regional issues, a meeting of the Security Council was held and a resolution was issued, and on the basis of an agreement, Iran has fulfilled all its obligations.