Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Monday (22) that the uranium enrichment limit will not be just 20%, and that the country will act according to its needs, and could “go to 60%”.
The statements, published on an official website, come on the eve of the entry into force of a law that aims to limit the United Nations (United Nations) inspection of Iran’s nuclear activity as long as the sanctions American are maintained.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) announced on Sunday (21) that it has reached a temporary deal to cushion the measures Tehran plans to take, including ending surprise inspections.
With the new pact, which lasts for three months and can be suspended at any time, the number of inspectors seconded by the IAEA to Iran will be maintained and they will be able to continue to carry out random inspections.
State Department spokesman Ned Price said Khamenei’s comments “sound like a threat,” but reiterated the United States’ willingness to engage in negotiations with Iran on the return to the country. nuclear deal.
The announcement by IAEA chief Rafael Grossi, made at Vienna airport after a trip to Iran, confirmed that the country will go ahead with its plan to curtail cooperation with the agency. Tehran confirmed on Monday that the measure would take effect from Tuesday (23).
The new legislation allows the Iranian government to limit some of the IAEA’s inspections of non-nuclear facilities, including military bases, as long as Washington does not abandon the sanctions imposed on Iran.
Tehran “has not abandoned its obligations, but gradually reduced some, which are reversible in the event of [os outros países participantes do acordo] return to honoring their commitments, ”Khamenei said.
Iran has gradually violated the terms of the 2015 nuclear pact since the United States, under former President Donald Trump, withdrew from the deal in 2018 and returned to impose sanctions.
A key part of Iran’s plan to reduce cooperation is to end the implementation of the Additional Protocol, according to which the IAEA has the right to conduct instant inspections in member states at places not declared in the ‘agency.
Ahead of the announcement, the IAEA and Iran issued a joint statement saying that Tehran would continue to implement the Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement, its central obligations for the agency that allow oversight of its declared nuclear facilities.
“Access will be reduced, we are not mistaken, but we will be able to maintain the necessary level of monitoring and verification,” Grossi said. “It saves the immediate situation.”
The United States said on Thursday (18) that it was ready to sit down at the table with Iran and negotiate the country’s return to the nuclear deal, even though the two sides disagree on who will. the first step.
According to Tehran, uranium must “produce fuel” for one of its reactors as part of its research and development activities – the country has always denied the production of nuclear weapons.
The most serious violation to date took place in January, when the country raised the level of enrichment of its uranium to 20%, a level it practiced before 2015. A degree of 90% is required for manufacturing of a bomb.