Iran breaches nuclear deal narrowing chance for negotiation

(VOVWORLD) - Iran has enriched uranium beyond the key limit of 3.67% dictated in its 2015 deal with major powers, in the latest escalation of the crisis between Washington and Tehran. The move brought parties back to, or even before the starting point of their efforts to reach a deal. Neither the US nor Iran shows sign of concession.
Iran breaches nuclear deal narrowing chance for negotiation - ảnh 1

An Iranian security official in protective clothing walks through a uranium conversion facility in 2005. Iran says it is now enriching uranium above the limit set in the 2015 nuclear deal.

Vahid Salemi/AP 

Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister said Iran began enriching uranium on Monday and threatened further steps away from the deal within 60 days if the remaining signatories do not help it avoid the effects of US sanctions. During the intervals, Iran threatened to continue to enrich uranium at a higher level.

Negotiations deadlocked

Under the nuclear deal signed in 2015 between Iran and Russia, the US, Britain, France, China, and Germany, Iran agreed to limit its nuclear program in exchange for lifting of sanctions. Iran is allowed to enrich its uranium at 3.67%, much lower than the level of 90% to produce nuclear weapons and the level of 20% Iran had reached before the deal was signed. Iran also agreed to stockpile a maximum of 300 kg of low-enriched uranium and sell any excess overseas.

But in May 2018, US President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew the US from the deal and re-imposed sanctions on Iran. One year later on May 8, 2019, Iran announced it would raise its uranium enrichment level beyond the limit of 3.67% and set a deadline of 60 days for the other 5 countries to fulfill their commitment to ensure Iran’s economic interests under the deal. 60 days later the other signatories failed to persuade the US to return to the deal and end its sanctions. Though the EU countries made several strong statements affirming their support for the deal, they failed to take any effective steps to resolve the problem.

After diplomatic failures, the seizure of an oil tanker near Gibraltar put more pressure on Iran. Iran has now breached limits on enrichment and stockpiling enriched uranium and halted the upgrading of heavy water nuclear reactor meant for civilian purposes which poses the possibility of it resuming Plutonium production at weapons level.

Door to negotiation closing

It falls to the EU to try to ease the tension. The International Atomic Energy Agency will convene on Wednesday to seek ways to save the deal. French President Emmanuel Macron has made efforts to resume talks between Iran and Western countries. The British government is working with other signatories to establish a joint committee as stipulated in the agreement. The door to negotiation remains open and appears to be closing.