Iran: World powers won’t get a better nuclear deal | USA News

Iran warned world powers they will not be able to negotiate a better deal than the landmark 2015 nuclear agreement, as the United States vowed the Islamic Republic will never acquire an atomic weapon.

Tehran threatened on Monday to restart deactivated centrifuges and ramp up its enrichment of uranium to 20 percent purity as its next potential big moves away from the agreement that Washington abandoned last year.

The latest war of words came the same day that Iran began enriching uranium to 4.5 percent, breaking the limit set in the 2015 agreement sealed under former president Barack Obama.

US Vice President Mike Pence said the international accord simply delayed Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon by “roughly a decade”, and gave away billions in economic relief that Iran could then use to wage “terrorist” attacks.

The US “will never allow Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon”, Pence told a pro-Israel Christian organisation on Monday.

“Iran must choose between caring for its people and continuing to fund its proxies who spread violence and terrorism throughout the region and breathe out murderous hatred against Israel,” he said.

Pence added US sanctions have succeeded in “cutting off” Iran’s ability to support armed groups in the Middle East, but he also alleged the Islamic Republic had increased its “malign activity and violence in the region” over the past several months.

Tensions in the region have risen in recent weeks after oil tankers were attacked near the Strait of Hormuz and Iran downed an unmanned US military surveillance drone.

The drone shootdown nearly led to a US military attack against Iran. It was called off at the last minute by US President Donald Trump.

The US has sent thousands of troops, an aircraft carrier, nuclear-capable B-52 bombers, and advanced fighter jets to the Middle East.

“Let me be clear,” Pence said. “Iran should not confuse American restraint with a lack of American resolve.”

A dying deal

Iran’s threats to restart their nuclear programme – made by Tehran’s nuclear agency spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi – would go far beyond the small steps Iran has taken in the past week to nudge stocks of fissile material just beyond limits in the pact.

That could raise serious questions about whether the nuclear deal, intended to block Iran from making a nuclear weapon, is still viable.

The two threats would reverse major achievements of the agreement, although Iran omitted important details about how far it might go to returning to the status quo before the pact.

Enriching uranium up to 20 percent purity would be a dramatic move, since that was the level Iran achieved before the 2015 deal, although back then it had a far larger stockpile.

It is considered an important intermediate stage on the path to obtaining the 90 percent pure fissile uranium needed for a bomb.

One of the main achievements of the deal was Iran’s agreement to dismantle its advanced IR-2M centrifuges, used to purify uranium. Iran had 1,000 of them installed at its large Natanz enrichment site before the deal. Under the deal, it is allowed to operate only up to two for testing.

Still, the threatened measures also appear intended to be sufficiently ambiguous to hold back from fully repudiating the deal.

Kamalvandi did not specify how much uranium Iran might purify to the higher level, nor how many centrifuges it would consider restarting.

Iran has said all the steps it is contemplating are reversible.

Emergency diplomacy

Trump on Monday spoke to French President Emmanuel Macron about Iran’s threat to ramp up enrichment of uranium.

“They discussed ongoing efforts to ensure that Iran does not obtain a nuclear weapon and to end Iran’s destabilising behaviour in the Middle East,” a White House spokesman said in a statement.

Macron’s top diplomatic adviser will travel to Iran on Tuesday and Wednesday to try to de-escalate tensions between Tehran and the US, a presidential official said.

The French official said both Iran and the US had an interest in increasing the pressure at this stage, but both sides would want to start talks eventually.

“The important thing in a crisis situation such as this one is to find the middle points that take us from extreme tension to negotiation, that’s what we’re trying to do,” the official said.


SOURCE:
Al Jazeera and news agencies


Source

more recommended stories

  • Crowd chants ‘send her back’ as Trump renews attacks on Omar | USA News

    US President Donald Trump has intensified.

  • ‘Wizard’ arrested after hack of most Bulgarian taxpayers’ details | News

    A 20-year-old Bulgarian cybersecurity worker was.

  • US slaps sanctions on Myanmar army chief over Rohingya abuses | News

    The United States has announced sanctions.

  • Religious restrictions on the rise globally: report | News

    Religious restrictions are on the rise.

  • Iran hits back at US demands on ballistic missiles, proxy groups | News

    Iran has hit back at US.

  • Malaysia parliament to debate move to lower voting age to 18 | News

    Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – Malaysia’s parliament.

  • El Salvador rape victim jailed for stillbirth goes on trial again | El Salvador News

    San Salvador, El Salvador – Evelyn.

  • Powerful earthquake rocks parts of eastern Indonesia | News

    A strong, shallow earthquake has struck.

  • Cricket: England beat New Zealand to win World Cup | News

    World Cup winners 1975 – West.

  • Barry weakens but Louisiana authorities warn threat remains | News

    Slow-moving tropical storm Barry has weakened.

  • Why is Turkey’s purchase of Russian weapons controversial? | USA

    A battle appears to be looming.

  • UK police warning to media over leaked memos stirs anger | News

    Senior British politicians, including both contenders.

  • The informal networks resisting Honduras’s abortion ban | Honduras

    Tegucigalpa, Honduras – At 22 years.

  • Suicide attack at Somalia hotel followed by gunfire | Somalia News

    A car bomb went off in.

  • Sudan’s ruling military council says coup attempt foiled | News

    Sudan‘s ruling military council (TMC) says.

  • Ghana’s president wants Africa-Europe relationship to change | Colonialism News

    Africa must change its relationship with.

  • Ex-UN chief joins chorus of concern over floods at Rohingya camps | News

    Former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has.

  • US wants Senate-approved deal with Iran: US envoy Brian Hook | News

    The Trump administration wants a Senate-approved agreement.

  • After ISIL, children try to catch up with school in Mosul | ISIS/ISIL News

    Mosul, Iraq – It was the.

  • US wants military coalition to safeguard waters off Iran, Yemen | Iran News

    The United States says it is.

  • Israel’s separation wall endures, 15 years after ICJ ruling | News

    In the occupied West Bank, the.

  • Turkey seeks to arrest hundreds over alleged Gulen links | News

    Turkish prosecutors have ordered the arrest.

  • Iran passes new nuclear deal limit as China blames US for crisis | News

    Iran has passed the uranium enrichment cap.

  • Trump hits back at UK envoy who called White House ‘inept’ | Trump News

    US President Donald Trump has hit back.

  • Indonesia: Tsunami warning issued after strong earthquake | News

    Indonesian authorities have issued a tsunami.

  • Anti-racists outnumber far-right Proud Boys at DC rally | USA News

    Washington, DC – Counterprotesters outnumbered members.

  • How can modern slavery be stopped? | UK

    They were told they’d get jobs.

  • Media haven or hell? The paradox of journalism in Turkey | Turkey

    In this special edition of the.

  • Rival rallies held on Venezuela’s independence day | Juan Guaido News

    Venezuela‘s bitterly divided political factions have.

  • Can a Corbyn-Sturgeon alliance save Brexit Britain from itself? | UK

    At the start of June, when.

  • ‘State-in-waiting’: Papua’s rebels unite against Indonesia rule | News

    Jakarta, Indonesia – The three main.

  • Meet Pakistan’s blind cricketers | Pakistan News

    On a standard cricket field with.