Iran to Ramp Up Nuclear Work as France Tries to Salvage Deal
While President Hassan Rouhani said his country would unveil on Thursday further plans to ramp up its atomic activities, the extension offered to European leaders signaled he was in no rush to scuttle the 2015 accord that’s been foundering ever since the U.S. pulled out a year ago. Europe will use that time to try to find a way around punishing American sanctions on Iran’s oil exports, the backbone of its economy.
Iranian government spokesman Ali Rabiei later told reporters that Europe has promised Iran that it will be able to restore some exports, and was working on securing waivers from the U.S.
Tehran has warned for weeks that if the European Union, a partner in the multilateral agreement, couldn’t work out a mechanism by Sept. 6 that would allow Iran to export oil, it would embark upon the third and most significant stage of its plan to gradually scale back its commitments. On Wednesday, Rouhani said he didn’t expect a resolution by the deadline, according to comments he made at a cabinet meeting that were relayed to reporters.
In recent months, Iran has broken restrictions on the size and purity of its enriched uranium stockpile.
“It is unlikely that we’ll reach an outcome with Europe either today or tomorrow,” Rouhani said. “Europe has a two-month opportunity to return to its commitments, for talks and to reach an agreement.” Iran and Europe have narrowed their differences over how to salvage the accord, Rabiei said.
Rouhani and French President Emmanuel Macron have been scrambling over the past week to agree on a proposal that would give Iran de facto waivers from strict U.S. sanctions through a $15 billion line of credit that would help to restore oil exports.
Such an arrangement would require American approval to work, and President Donald Trump had signaled support for such a lifeline to relieve the hardship ordinary Iranians have suffered since the U.S. quit the nuclear agreement last year and reimposed tight sanctions that have hammered the Iranian economy. But on Wednesday, when French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire was in Washington trying to sell the plan, a senior U.S. administration official termed it a non-starter.
Read more at: Yahoo
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